Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street
Edinburgh
Lothian
EH2 1JO
Scotland

Website

www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/298-introduction

E-mail

enquiries@nationalgalleries.org

Telephone

0131 332 2266

Fax

0131 343 3250

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.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
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The National Galleries of Scotland looks after one of the world's finest collections of Western art ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. These holdings include the National Collection of Scottish art which we are proud to display in an international context.

We care for, research and develop these collections and we aim to share these works of art with as wide a public as possible. Every year we welcome over a million visitors from Scotland and the rest of the world to our various Galleries sited in Edinburgh.

We have active programmes of education, outreach and special exhibitions and where possible we work with partners across Scotland to maximise the impact of our activities.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Open daily, 10am-5pm. Thursdays until 7pm.

Admission charges

Free

Collection details

Fine Art, Archives

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Imagining Power: The Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause

  • 1 December 2011 — 31 December 2015 *on now

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has the most extensive and significant collection of Jacobite visual material in the world.

The term ‘Jacobite’ derives from ‘Jacobus’, the Latin form of James, and describes those who supported James VII and II, the exiled Catholic monarch of Scotland, England and Ireland, and his heirs. Jacobitism was launched as a political and ideological cause by the birth of a son to King James in 1688 and the subsequent coup d’état led by his Protestant son-in-law, William of Orange. For nearly 100 years Jacobitism was a major factor in European affairs and it was responsible for the last battles on British soil.

This fascinating display focuses on the way Jacobites presented themselves in portraiture

Suitable for

  • Any age

Where

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/imagining-power-the-visual-culture-of-the-jacobite-cause/

Citizens of the World | David Hume & Allan Ramsay

  • 1 December 2011 — 31 December 2015 *on now

Scotland made a remarkable contribution to the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century with many of her citizens contributing to the ferment of ideas and shifts in attitude which transformed the world.

Two Scots, David Hume, the great philosopher, and Allan Ramsay, the outstanding painter, were at the centre of this cultural and intellectual revolution.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/citizens-of-the-world/

Reformation to Revolution

  • 1 December 2011 — 31 December 2016 *on now

By the close of the seventeenth century the monarchy, church and parliament had all changed drastically.


These complex changes had important cultural consequences. With religious painting no longer acceptable, there was an increase in demand for secular art forms, portraiture in particular. This coincided with a growing merchant and professional class beginning to commission works of art to display their increased ambition and economic strength.

Painted portraits were expensive, and those who acquired them came from the wealthiest levels of society, both old and new. These men and women used portraits to assert ideas of social status as well as to record an individual likeness. Their images played a significant role in the struggles for power, identity and nationhood during this period.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/reformation-to-revolution/#.UFwkt64gzcs

The Age of Improvement

  • 1 December 2011 — 31 December 2015 *on now

Between 1750 and 1850 Scotland was transformed. Commercial, industrial and agricultural improvement changed the physical appearance and the social fabric of the country. A new meritocracy emerged, whose members demanded a leading role in civil society and politics, alongside the traditional landowning elite.

These new middle-classes wished to see their own values – industriousness, self-reliance and social responsibility – asserted in their portraits, offering a moral contrast to the showy and often overpowering images of earlier times. Civic virtue and moral fibre would be judged in the faces of those who were now able to commission a likeness.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/the-age-of-improvement/#.UFtB264gzcs

Playing for Scotland | The Making of Modern Sport

  • 1 December 2012 — 31 December 2014 *on now

From football to fishing, canoeing to curling, hunting to hockey, this sporting revolution is illustrated through paintings, photographs and prints and a specially-commissioned film.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/playing-for-scotland/#.UFsu9a4gzcs

Making History

  • 12 October 2013 — 29 March 2015 *on now

The exhibition explores the recent work by Alexander Stoddart (Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen in Scotland) commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery: the making of a monumental figure representing History for the exterior of the Gallery.

A figure of History, by William Birnie Rhind, adorned the apex of the main entrance of the Gallery from 1893 but was weathered beyond repair. Stoddart’s new figure will be installed on the exterior of the Gallery in the autumn and his process and preparatory works will be the main focus of this exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/making-history/

John Ruskin: Artist and Observer

  • 4 July — 28 September 2014 *on now

John Ruskin (1819-1900) is renowned as the greatest British art critic of the nineteenth century and the champion of Turner, but his role as an artist remains relatively little known. He was however an outstanding draughtsman and watercolour painter, who especially took inspiration from the natural world and architectural subjects. This exhibition will illustrate, with the finest examples, the range and quality of his drawn and painted work. Gothic palaces in Venice, wild and spectacular Scottish and Alpine landscapes, and minutely defined and brilliantly coloured birds and plants will all be highlights of the show. The loans will chiefly come from the key UK and US collections (both public and private), and the exhibition is a prestigious collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

It is especially fitting that John Ruskin: Artist and Observer should be showcased in Edinburgh, as Ruskin came from a Scottish family, visited Scotland many times, and was a passionate advocate for the beauty of its landscapes and literary heritage. Key episodes in his public and private life were enacted here.

A major, scholarly catalogue complementing the exhibition is to be published by the National Gallery of Canada.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£8.00 (£6.00).

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/john-ruskin/

Rope workers in an unidentified factory, probably Dundee

Remembering the Great War

  • 4 August 2014 — 5 July 2015 *on now

This exhibition will be held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Though-provoking and poignant, and encompassing famous Scots as well as far less well-known figures, it will make a major contribution to next year’s global commemorations.

Largely drawn from works in the National Galleries of Scotland collections, the exhibition will include a rich variety of portraits and related works in various media. Among those featured are Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig: James Keir Hardie who opposed British involvement in the war; Dr Elsie Ingles who took a team of Scottish nurses to Serbia; artists Sir James Gunn and Sir William Gillies who were wounded in action; James Maxton who organized a ship-workers’ strike during the war; J S Haldane who invented the gas mask, and Harry Lauder who entertained troops at the Front, who wrote the morale-boosting anthem ‘Keep Right on to the End of the Road’, and whose only son was killed in France on Boxing Day, 1916.

It will provide a significant opportunity for a large number of people to learn about the devastating impact of the First World War and its consequences, and specifically about the key role that Scotland and the Scottish people played.

Website

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/remembering-the-great-war/

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