History in Structure

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, Edinburgh

A Category A Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 55.9555 / 55°57'19"N

Longitude: -3.1936 / 3°11'36"W

OS Eastings: 325570

OS Northings: 674253

OS Grid: NT255742

Mapcode National: GBR 8ND.LL

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.XKDS

Plus Code: 9C7RXR44+6H

Entry Name: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, Edinburgh

Listing Name: Queen Street, Scottish National Portrait Gallery with Lamp Standards

Listing Date: 14 December 1970

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 365085

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB27764

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: National Galleries of Scotland

ID on this website: 200365085

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Art museum National museum

Find accommodation in


Robert Rowand Anderson, 1885-90; sculpture by W Birnie Rhind,

C McBride, DW & W Grant Stevenson, John Hutchison and Pittendrigh MacGillivray. Imposing symmetrical 3-storey Spanish Gothic picture gallery and museum with copious sculptural decoration. Red Corsehill sandstone ashlar to principal elevations, coursed bull-faced rubble to secondary elevations. Pointed arch openings throughout; marble shafted columns to 1st floor windows. Base course; dentilled cornice; pierced parapet. Octagonal corner towers with slender buttresses and niches to each face containing figures; crocketed octagonal pinnacles (latter all recently reinstated).

QUEEN STREET ELEVATION: 9-bay. Arched and gabled 2-stage centrepiece at centre; shouldered door contained within tripartite doorpiece, itself within large single arch; 3 figure panels above support

4 arcaded windows surmounted by further sculptured panel; all contained within further arch and pediment; flanking pinnacled buttresses with figures in niches. Flanking wings with large windows at ground and paired windows at 1st floor with simple cusped tracery. 2nd floor virtually blind.

SIDE ELEVATIONS: 4-bay. 2 tiers of rectangular bipartite windows at ground; 1st floor as above; 2nd floor with rectangular cusped bipartite windows.

REAR ELEVATION: simplified version of front elevation.

Multi-pane timber casement and sash and case windows. Piended roof; grey slates; boiler stack distinctive Anderson component derived from continental precedents.

INTERIOR: lobby leads to 2-storey arcaded central Hall, with decorative painted frieze of celebrities from Scottish history by William Hole, 1887-1901; astrological ceiling. Flanked by pair of scale and platt stairs with vaulted landings. Principal galleries simple 2-aisled halls; further top-lit galleries on 2nd floor, together with galleried Library of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Stained glass window in E stair with medallion portraits of contemporary antiquaries by WG Boss, 1895, to Anderson?s design; armorial windows in Hall by Margaret Chilton and Marjorie Kemp, 1932.

LAMP STANDARDS: pair of elaborate octagonal gothic lamp standards with granite plinths flank entrance.

Statement of Interest

Crown property. Parapet and pinnacles removed 1980 as they were dangerous and restored 1991-3. Gifted to the nation, through the Board of Manufactures, by JR Findlay, the proprietor of the Scotsman, to house both a National Portrait Gallery and the (publicly owned) collections of the Society of Antiquaries. Architectural sources range from the Doge's Palace to George Gilbert Scott, via Anderson's own published drawings of houses in Cordes and Figeac, but the taste of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and especially Anderson's Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, which was derived from similar sources, are predominant. The principal facade was originally to be terminated by a pair of large Franco-Scottish tourelles, but these were replaced, at Findlay?s request, by the existing octagonal turrets. The building was officially opened on the 15th July 1889, although it was not until many years later that the decorative schemes were completed. The National Museum of Antiquities is soon to move out (1998), leaving the entire building for the Portrait Gallery.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.