Records of James Paterson Museum Archive, Moniaive, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Scope and Content

Photographs, lecture notes and correspondence of the artist James Paterson and members of his family, formerly housed in the James Paterson Museum, Moiaive, 1818-2002. Includes copies and transcripts of original documents in a private collection. The material is arranged in the following series: 

  • MS Paterson A - lantern slides
  • MS Paterson B - glass negatives
  • MS Paterson C - celluloid negatives
  • MS Paterson D - albums of photographs
  • MS Paterson E - loose photographs
  • MS Paterson F - copy photographs
  • MS Paterson H - correspondence
  • MS Paterson K - notebooks
  • MS Paterson L - lectures
  • MS Paterson M - notes
  • MS Paterson N - miscellaneous papers
  • MS Paterson RA - papers of Mary Viola Paterson
  • MS Paterson RB - papers of Lady Annie Margaret Worlledge
  • MS Paterson RC - papers of Alexander Nisbet Paterson
  • MS Paterson RD - papers of Quentin Hunter Paterson
  • MS Paterson RE - papers of Herbert MacGregor Paterson
  • MS Paterson S - printed books
  • MS Paterson T - records of the James Paterson Museum
  • MS Paterson W - transcripts
  • MS Paterson X - photocopies
  • MS Paterson Y - lectures by Anne Paterson Wallace
  • MS Paterson Z - artefacts

Administrative / Biographical History

James Paterson was born into a prosperous Glasgow textile family in an era when being an artist was frowned on. Whilst working, he went to study in the early hours of the morning at the Glasgow School of Art, where he was tutored by A D Robertson, one of Glasgow's finest watercolour teachers. James spent all his spare time sketching and in 1876 at the age of 22 years, he set off to Paris with an allowance from his father, to study in the Ateliers of Jacquesson de la Chevreuse and Jean Paul Laurens.

In 1879, James made his first visit to the village of Moniaive in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, where he found the landscape appealing and where he painted 'en plein air' as in France. He was so taken by the countryside that after his marriage to Eliza Ferguson in 1884, he set up home in a cottage gifted as a wedding present by his parents. James spent over 22 years in the area painting in the Nithsdale and Ayrshire hills, the Solway Firth and the local river and burns, capturing the elusive colours and light inherent in the Scottish countryside. During this period he formed friendships with a group of artists - Sir James Guthrie, E A Walton, W Y McGregor, E A Hornel and others - who came to be known collectively as the 'Glasgow Boys'.

Academic recognition was always important to James, and he took his official duties very seriously. He was elected RSW in 1885, ARSA in 1896, RWS in 1908 and RSA in 1910. He became President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1922 and served as Librarian between 1910-1924, and Secretary from 1924 until a few weeks before his death in January 1932. He moved to Edinburgh in 1906, and following his wife's death in 1910, took on more public responsibilities. A museum devoted to Paterson's life was founded by his granddaughter, Anne Paterson Wallace, one of the six family artists following in his footsteps. Located in Moniaive in the house where Paterson's cook, Miss Black, lived, its artefacts were donated by the direct descendants of his family. It included the personal collection of Anne Paterson Wallace, with over one thousand photographic images by Paterson of his family, friends, and art works, together with his own records, historic writings, documents and letters from his later life in Edinburgh. The museum closed in 2003.

Source: Newsletter, the James Paterson Museum (Moniaive, 2000-2003).


The material is arranged into 22 series

Access Information

Access is open, however an appointment may be required. Please email Archives and Special Collections for advice:

Acquisition Information

Gift : James Paterson Museum : 2003 : ACCN 4829

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Applications for permission to quote should be sent to Archives and Special Collections, please email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

Formerly in the custody of the James Paterson Museum, Moniaive


Gift : James Paterson Museum : 2004 : ACCN 4855

Corporate Names