John Davidson, a member of the family of J & A Davidson, coal merchants and shipping agents, Aberdeen, was an amateur musician and composer. His preferred medium appears to have been the string quartet, but he composed and arranged pieces also for other combinations of instruments, chiefly strings. A number of pieces appear in more than one form. The collection contains both full scores and parts.
The earliest and latest dates discernible are 1871 and 1926, but almost everything is undated and unpublished.