View and zoom into this image on our new collection website
Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching)

Reference URL

See also

Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching) 1843

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Thomas Chalmers, known for his radical views on social reform and poor-relief, was the leader of the evangelical party in the Church of Scotland. During the Disruption in 1843 he led the group of dissenting ministers, becoming the first Moderator of the Free Church. The emotion and excitement of the Disruption caused David Octavius Hill to start work on a large-scale painting commemorating the event, which he eventually finished twenty-three years later. Hill and his partner Robert Adamson took hundreds of the newly invented calotypes to create faithful likenesses of the 400 people in the painting. Although Chalmers's calotype was taken for this purpose, this particular pose only appears in an early design for the painting and does not feature in the finished work.

Glossary Open


The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.


After years of dissension within the Church of Scotland, in 1843 a group of 150 ministers walked out of the General Assembly to form the Free Church of Scotland. The main issues were the right to veto clerical appointments and the desire of the dissenters to retain their spiritual independence.

Calotype, Disruption


  • Acc. No. PGP HA 552
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 15.00 x 11.00 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown