Elected ARSA: 1 March 1893

David Robertson, born in 1834, was the son of David Irons Robertson, City Chamberlain of Edinburgh, and served his apprenticeship in the office of David Cousin, City Architect. He was largely employed in his early career as Consulting Architect of the United Presbyterian Church for the east of Scotland, and this connection brought him into contact with current ecclesiastical affairs on a fairly wide scale.


He designed North Morningside United Free Church, Edinburgh, in the Norman style of Architecture, and though justly and widely admired, it excited a considerable amount of criticism at the time of its erection, about the end of last century. The John Ker Memorial church, Polwarth Gardens, is another of his important works. Mr. Robertson was employed as Consulting Architect in connection with Hospitalfield Trust, Arbroath, founded by Patrick Allan Fraser, and in addition to other buildings there, he designed the new studio block.


At Colinton, several dwelling-houses were erected from Mr. Robertson’s designs, one of considerable importance erected at the east end of the village at an early period in the development of the locality. He was President of the Edinburgh Architectural Association in 1865 and again in 1887. One of the first members, he lived to see its absorption in the larger Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.


He was an originator of The Scottish Arts Club, and for many years a familiar figure in its rooms. Mr. Robertson enjoyed in a marked degree the respect and confidence of his professional brethren, though his singularly retiring disposition prevented his taking a prominent part in public life. David Robertson was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1893, and until recent years was assiduous in attendance at its meetings.


His distinguished appearance and courteous bearing made him a notable figure, and he was esteemed by every member of the body. Having lived to so great an age  - he was 91 at the date of his death on 20th February 1925 – he had long outlived his early contemporaries. 


RSA Obituary by G Washington Browne RSA and James Paterson RSA. Transcribed from the 1925 RSA Annual Report