Completed Portraits: British 20th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 5 Could this portrait depict James Iverach (1839–1922)?

Topic: Subject or sitter

I would like to suggest that this may be a portrait of James Iverach (1839–1922) and if it is, that it was painted in 1912.

I did not succeed in finding a photo or another painting of J. Iverach for comparison, so the evidence for this is circumstantial:

Allan Sutherland certainly painted a portrait of Principal Iverach which is described as “a life-size representation of Principal Iverach, Aberdeen United Free Church College […] a realistic likeness of the Principal as he stands in characteristic attitude wearing his red academical robe with purple facings […]." (Aberdeen Journal, Saturday 06 January 1912).

The portrait is mentioned again in 1913 (Aberdeen Journal, Friday 28 March 1913) and then in 1938 (Aberdeen Journal Tuesday 27 September 1938).

James Iverach was appointed to the chair of apologetics in the Free Church College, Aberdeen in 1887 and stayed there for three decades (see Moore, J. (1979) 'The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come'. Cambridge University Press. pp253.

And this portrait was – according to the description on Your Paintings – transferred from Christ’s College to the University of Aberdeen.

Andrea Kollmann, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Edward Stone,

This painting is now titled 'James Iverach (1839–1922)' and has been dated 1912.

This amendment will appear on the new version of the Your Paintings website in January 2016. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


Osmund Bullock,

Attached are several more newspaper cuttings from 1905-22 about James Iverach, including an extensive obituary. All are illustrated with images (mainly photos) of him, and they leave no doubt that this is indeed his portrait. His only son died unmarried in 1938, and it was perhaps then that it was given to what by then had become Christ's College.

Well done, Andrea, excellent detective work: I hope it may mean that this fine-looking portrait will now be fully appreciated. Iverach was a man of great intellect and considerable achievement, and his progressive writings on how Christian faith need not deny Darwinian evolutionary theory command respect even today - and I write as an atheist. He deserves to be better remembered.

Andrea Kollmann,

Thank you Osmund for these newspaper clippings and confirming his identity!

Edward Stone,

University of Aberdeen has accepted the identity of the sitter and execution date.