City Art Centre

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Enjoy a visit to the City Art Centre, a main Edinburgh art gallery with one of the best collections of Scottish art. We show interesting exhibitions from our own collections and from all over the world. We can also tempt you with an excellent café and attractive shop located on the ground floor.

The City Art Centre has a busy programme of exhibitions which change regularly to suit the interests of our visitors. People come to see favourites from the City’s nationally Recognised collection of Scottish art; new work from local or international artists or exhibitions from other countries. Exhibitions of historic and modern photography, contemporary art and design, architecture and the built environment are staged in a rolling programme. We have shown Egyptian and Roman objects and even featured artwork and costumes from the Star Wars films.

An escalator and lift help you move around six floors, and you can be refreshed by sampling the menus in the café, or buy art books, cards, handbags and jewellery from our ground floor shop.

The City Art Centre is conveniently placed near to the Waverley rail station in the city centre.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon-Sat 10.00-17.00
Sun 12.00-17.00

Admission charges

Free admission to permanent collection, admission charges may apply to temporary exhibitions.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Linotype artwork by Jane Hyslop

Paper Trail: Drawings, Watercolours, Prints

  • 2 July 2016 — 21 May 2017 *on now

A blank piece of paper is one of the most basic materials available to a visual artist. Yet it is also among the most versatile. The range of work that can be produced using paper is potentially limitless. Rough sketches, finely detailed drawings, atmospheric pastel studies, delicate watercolours, and a variety of printmaking techniques including etching, lithography and woodcut, all take their starting point with a fresh sheet of paper.

Paper Trail: Drawings, Watercolours, Prints explores some of the many ways that artists create works on paper. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the City Art Centre’s permanent collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art, and spans the period from the late 18th century to present day. A variety of creative processes are showcased, from the use of sketchbooks to etching plates, and artists’ individual working practices are examined in depth.

The exhibition includes a selection of work by celebrated figures like Anne Redpath, Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi and Paul Sandby. It also introduces some lesser-known artists such as James Watterston Herald, Katherine Cameron and Mabel Royds, whose careers and methods are not so familiar. In addition, Paper Trail presents a number of recent acquisitions to the City Art Centre’s collection, some of which are on public display for the first time. These include works by Victoria Crowe, Ian Hamilton Finlay and the early 19th century artist Robert Batty.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Digital print by Andy Lomas

A Sketch of the Universe: Art, Science and the Influence of D'Arcy Thompson

  • 19 November 2016 — 19 February 2017 *on now

D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948) was a pioneering Edinburgh-born biologist whose theories about the growth of organisms had a profound impact on 20th century art. His book On Growth and Form opened up the study of mathematical biology and provided the inspiration for generations of artists to explore its ideas. As the art critic Herbert Read later told Thompson, “you have built a bridge between science and art”.

In 2011 the University of Dundee Museum Services received a grant from the Art Fund RENEW scheme to develop a collection of artworks inspired by Thompson’s research. This exhibition showcases the collection, with works by modern and contemporary artists including Henry Moore, Victor Pasmore, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Will Maclean, Susan Derges and Daniel Brown.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Ink drawing by Peter Randall-Page

Peter Randall-Page: Works on Paper

  • 3 December 2016 — 12 February 2017 *on now

Peter Randall-Page’s work is largely informed by the study of organic form and the natural world. Works on Paper presents a series of large-scale drawings by this renowned sculptor. These drawings explore Randall-Page's interest in order and chaos. Their underlying structures are derived from mathematical rules of subdivision and growth.

Making use of controlled pouring of ink, Randall-Page inverts the paper, reversing gravity and letting the ink flow upwards like the branching patterns of bare trees. Although he controls the flow of the ink, there is an element of chance in this way of working. The drawings are then folded to create mirror image symmetry reminiscent of Rorschach ink blots. The resulting works evoke tributaries, vascular systems and river deltas.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


City Art Centre
2 Market Street


City Art Centre




0131 529 3993


0131 529 3977

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.