National Portrait Gallery

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1 Queen St
EH2 1JE Edinburgh, United Kingdom


+44 131 624 6200


The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is currently closed while it undergoes a major refurbishment. The Gallery will re-open in late 2011.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery opened to the public in 1889, and is the first purpose-built portrait gallery in the world.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is home to Scotland's national collection of portraits and currently also houses the National Photography Collection. Its origins can be traced to one enthusiastic collector, the mildly eccentric David, 11th Earl of Buchan. His collection of portraits of famous Scots, assembled in the late eighteenth century, formed the foundation of the national portrait collection in its first conception. To this day, the Gallery continues to collect works that are portraits of Scots, though not necessarily made by Scots. It aims to add portraits of those missing in the collection, as well as to bring the collection up to date. Since 1982 there has been a policy of commissioning portraits of living Scots by contemporary artists.

When the Gallery re-opens in late 2011, the way in which the collection is displayed will also be transformed. The portraits will be shown within the context of various historical and thematic exhibitions, bringing to the foreground the fascinating stories behind the sitters and the artists.  Much more photography will be on display, and there will be a strong focus on Scottish art.

While the Portrait Gallery is closed, a selection of portraits from the collection will be on display at the National Gallery Complex, the Modern Art Galleries and exhibitions across the country.

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