The Unknown Church

November 1, 2022
The Unknown Church In the lead-up to our current exhibition on William Wilson RSA, our Collections team were busy trying to identify several subjects amongst our own Wilson pictures. In particular one work, the largest of Wilson’s watercolours in the Academy’s collection, remained unidentified. This was his 1939 watercolour City Church.
All that changed this weekend when well-known Scottish Art expert Alice Strang and her husband Gavin, managing director or Lyon and Turnbull Edinburgh, visited the gallery.
RSA Collections Curator Sandy Wood was delighted to receive a message from Alice with the news that Gavin had recognised the church as the former North Merchiston Church in the city’s Slateford Road, which was demolished a year short of its centenary in 1988. The tenement block and brick stack to the left remain almost unchanged. The view is looking across the railway line from Shandon Crescent. 
It is not known whether Wilson or his family had any direct connection to the church, but the Wilson family home was close by at 4 Moat Place

About the author

Robin Rodger

Robin H. Rodger graduated as O. E. Saunders Prizeman in Art History from the University of St Andrews in 1983, before taking his Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Manchester in 1984. The next 26 years were spent at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, and since 2013 he has been Documentation Officer with the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture. A keen researcher, he has lectured and published widely on Perthshire artists and Perth silver, and is currently engaged in research projects relating to aspects of print and printmaking in Scotland.