Robert Lucas Pearsall (March 14, 1795 - August 5, 1856) was an English composer.
Pearsall was born at Clifton in Bristol in 1795. The family lived in Bristol until 1816 when Pearsall's mother, who had been widowed in 1813, purchased from her recently bankrupted brother-in-law, the family house at Willsbridge in Gloucestershire in 1816.
Pearsall married Harriet Eliza Hobday, daughter of the celebrated portraitist, William Armfield Hobday, in 1817, at St Andrew's Holborn, London, and they had four children.
In those early years of marriage, Pearsall practiced in Bristol as a barrister, but a mild stroke in 1825 persuaded him of the need to convalesce abroad, and he left England with his young family, settling first at Mainz and then in Karlsrühe in Germany from 1830 - 1842 and later at the Schloss Wartensee by Rorschach in Switzerland, where he remained until his death in 1856.
His move from England allowed him the opportunity to develop his interest as a composer. He received some compositional instruction from the Austrian violinist and composer, Joseph Panny, but most of his early essays at composition seem to be self-taught.
Despite being an ex-patriate for the rest of his life, Pearsall maintained a close connection with his home city of Bristol and returned to England several times, most notably in 1836 - 1837, when he was present at the founding of the Bristol Madrigal Society for whom he wrote many of his best-loved works. Pearsall was an amateur composer whose personal wealth and comfortable situation meant that he rarely sought publication of his work and many of his compositions were not published until after his death - although even now, the majority of his work remains in manuscript. The 'de', sometimes attributed to his name is pure affectation, a device used by his daughter, Phillipa, who saw to the publication of many of his choral works after his death. It can only be assumed that she sought somehow to ennoble the name to achieve a better volume of sales - she even went to the extremes of scratching 'de' into Pearsall's signature on some of his letters, to attempt to justify herself.
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