Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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:


Opening hours

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

Admission charges


Collection details

Fine Art, Archives

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
painting of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Anne by Van Dyck

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




Scots in ltaly | Artists and Adventurers

  • 5 March 2016 — 3 March 2019 *on now

Celebrated as the centre of classical and modern European civilisation, Italy held many attractions for eighteenth-century Scots. Artists and architects came to study its matchless heritage. Wealthy aristocrats refined their minds and manners in a world of glamour and learning. A motley crowd of adventurers and loyalists pinned their hopes on the exiled Stuart court. Dealers and entrepreneurs, meanwhile, exploited a seemingly endless supply of artistic treasures. Featuring stunning artworks from across the National Galleries of Scotland, this exhibition explores the Scottish experience of Italy in the eighteenth-century, the period when fascination with the country reached its height.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


The Tweeddales | Power, Politics and Portraits

  • 23 April 2016 — 28 May 2017 *on now

Wealthy, influential and politically savvy the Tweeddale family was at the heart of Scottish society in the second half of the seventeenth century. At the head of the family was John Hay (1626 – 1697), 2nd Earl and later 1st Marquess of Tweeddale.

Tweeddale's marriage to Lady Jean Scott (1629-1688), second daughter of the Borders landowner Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch, brought him wealth, opportunity, and a large family - the couple had several children. Members of the Tweeddale dynasty married into some of the most noble families in Scotland and England.

The highlight of the exhibition is the fascinating group portrait of the Marquess and his family, attributed to the Flemish artist Sir John Baptiste de Medina, which was painted around 1695.

While several members of the Tweeddale family are acknowledged for their contribution to politics, the military and for their strategic marriage matches, their role as patrons of the arts and architecture is often overlooked. The family were enthusiastic art collectors who commissioned portraits and landscapes by established and little-known artists, particularly those of Dutch, Flemish and German origin including, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Sir Peter Lely, Gerard Soest and Sir John Baptiste de Medina. Paintings by these artists feature in the exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street




0131 332 2266


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.