May 2: Moderators and Ex-Moderators of the Free Church of Scotland, 1860

At the PCA Historical Center, our research library is a vital part of our collections. In particular, this library provides context and background material for the records and manuscript collections that are the focus of the Historical Center. As such, the library consists largely of works about American Presbyterianism, but in recent years, we’ve also begun to add materials from foreign shores, with an understandable emphasis on Presbyterianism in Scotland.

Just a few years ago, I was able to add an original photograph from 1860 to our collection, one in which all of the then-living moderators and ex-moderators of the Free Church of Scotland are shown seated together. It is an amazing photograph.

I was pleased then when early today, a friend pointed to the web site of the Free Church of Scotland, where they have displayed the work of a Turkish artist who has colorized this same photo from 1860. The artist is named Tolga Unker, and as the FCS web site states, he is, “a Turkish based artist with a keen interest in Scottish church history, has used his talents to bring to life a black and white photograph of Free Church of Scotland Moderators captured in 1860. The digitally colourised image, taken in New College on Edinburgh’s Mound, shows nine moderators who served from 1848-1860.

So take a look at the photo now preserved at the PCA Historical Center, and in the second image below, from the back of the photo, look over the key which identifies the subjects of the photo. Below that, we’ve added a bit more information, including the life dates of each of the men pictured. Then finally, click the link (below) which takes you to the Free Church site. Open that link in a new tab and then jump back and forth to compare the photos.

You will probably notice that our photo is slightly different, a second shot taken by the photographer that day. But note especially how colorization brings the subjects to life. And lastly, as you ponder this group of faithful servants of the Church, let this remind you to pray for your pastors, elders and teachers. These are trying times, and they need your support.

Pictured, as per the key published on the reverse, with their year of service as moderator:
1848 – Dr. Patrick Clason, Buccleuch Parish Church, Edinburgh [1789-1867]
1850 – Dr. Nathaniel Paterson, Glasgow [3 July 1787 – 25 April 1871]
1853 – Dr. John Smith, Glasgow [? – ?]
1854 – Dr. James Grierson, Errol [? – 5 May 1875]
1855 – Dr. James Henderson, Glasgow [1797 – 1874]
1857 – Dr. James Julius Wood, Dumfries [1800 – 1877]
1858 – Dr. Alexander Beith, Stirling [13 January 1799 – 11 May 1891]
1859 – Dr. William Cunningham, Edinburgh [2 October 1805 – 14 December 1861]
1860 – Dr. Robert Buchanan, Glasgow [1802 – 1875], moderator in 1860
For that date range 1848-1860, three former moderators were not present for inclusion in the photograph, namely Drs. Mackintosh Mackay [1793-1873], of Dunoon (1849), Alexander Duff [15 April 1806 – 12 February 1878], Calcutta (1851) and Angus Makellar, who had died the year previous to when the photograph was taken [22 June 1780–10 May 1859], Edinburgh (1852).


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