More DO Hill pages

Lists of Photographers



Detail from painting by David Octavius Hill  RSA

The Disruption

DO Hill's Painting of The Disruption  -  Detail including book

  Copyright: Free Church of Scotland and


The Disruption Painting

The Group around the Atlas

Thank you to Rev. John S Ross for the e-mail giving me the following information about the group of figures above:

"The group you have drawn attention to is particularly interesting, consisting as it does of the pioneers associated with the Church of Scotland's/Free Church's mission to the Jews.

The person looking to the right above the atlas is Dr Alexander Keith, father of George Skene Keith -  whose photographs of the Holy Land illustrated later editions of his father's book 'Evidences of Prophecy', thus making it one of the earliest books to be illustrated by the use of photography.

The slender, bewhiskered, profile to the right is Dr John Duncan, the eccentric but brilliant first Professor of Oriental languages in New College, Edinburgh and erstwhile missionary to the Jews in Budapest, who also had a casual interest in the use of photography.

The child pointing to the atlas (open at the page of Palestine) is Adolph Saphir, son of the first convert from the Budapest mission.

At this point D. O. Hill permits one of his anachronisms - neither Duncan nor Saphir were in Edinburgh at the time of the Disruption, both being in Budapest. The large leftwards looking profile in the foreground belongs to Alex. Black, Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament in Aberdeen.

The figure to his right, holding a scroll of paper, is Andrew Bonar.  

Keith, Black and Bonar, along with Robert M'Cheyne (deceased March 1843 - two months before the Disruption) were sent in 1840 by the Church of Scotland to survey Jewish communities in Europe and Palestine."   [Rev. John S Ross]


More DO Hill pages

Lists of Photographers