Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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




Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015

  • 18 June — 2 October 2016 *on now

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading competition to celebrate and promote the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.

The selected images explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. Alongside informal images of friends and family, this year’s exhibition also features revealing portraits of famous faces, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch and the President of the United States Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also included as part of the new In Focus display within the exhibition is recent work by the award-winning South African photographer Pieter Hugo. The In Focus feature is an annual showcase for new work by an internationally renowned photographer, which is exhibited alongside the photographs selected for the competition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Facing the World | Self-Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei

  • 16 July — 16 October 2016

The self-portrait occupies a core place in the history of European art. Ever since the Renaissance, and in some cases even earlier, artists have self-consciously created images of themselves. This exhibition presents an exciting selection of portraits, in various media spanning six centuries, from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei’s instagram posts. The topic is more relevant than ever, as social media thrives on self-portraits and the continual presentation of self.

This exhibition reflects the early self-assurance of the Renaissance artist, the magnificent spectacle of the self in the Baroque, the sentimental subjectivity in Romantic self-portraiture, the unsparing view of the self in modern art, and finally the obsessive questioning of the self in the era of photography and video.

The exhibits (around 139 in total) will range in date from the sixteenth century to the present day. Artists represented include: Simon Vouet, Rembrandt, Hyacinthe Rigaud, David Wilkie, David Octavius Hill, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Oskar Kokoschka, Andy Warhol, Marina Abramovich, Tracey Emin, John Coplans, Ken Currie and Alison Watt.


£9 (£7)


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.