Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD
  • Telephone 0131 624 6200
  • Opening times 10am–5pm.
  • Email
  • Website www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/…
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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Photo: Lisa Flemming © National Galleries of Scotland

One of the most magnificent buildings in the entire city, modelled on the Doges Palace in Venice, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery has an impressive Gothic red sandstone façade designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. As well as classical subjects such as Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, the gallery is home to more contemporary Scottish portraits, such as those of Sean Connery (by John Bellany), Robbie Coltrane and Tilda Swinton (both John Byrne, whose self-portrait is also at the gallery). In 2009, the gallery was closed for the first major refurbishment in its 120-year history, re-opening to great acclaim in late 2011.

Events at this venue

There are 30 events at this location

Sorted by date & time / title

Amplified Tour: BP Portrait 2019

A free amplified tour with portable hearing loops for visitors with hearing loss. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded…

Sun 15 Mar 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Amplified Tour: Scotland’s Photograph Album: The Mackinnon Collection

A free amplified tour with portable hearing loops for visitors with hearing loss. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded…

Sun 19 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Amplified Tour: The Mackinnon Collection

A free amplified tour with portable hearing loops for visitors with hearing loss. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded…

Sun 19 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Art and Analysis: Two Netherlandish painters working in Jacobean Scotland

Focussing on the two 17th-century artists Adrian Vanson and Adam de Colone, this small exhibition presents the findings of a collaborative research project with paintings conservator Dr Caroline Rae, the Courtauld Institute of Art Caroline Villers Research Fellow. On display are a group of paintings from the National…

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 134 more dates until 1 May 2020

Autism-Friendly Early Openings

All families affected by Autism are invited to explore the Portrait Gallery before the doors open to the public and take part in creative, sensory activities. Sun 27 October - Cloaks and Clothes - Visit our historical portraits and feel our sensory fabrics. Make a collage or a 'Den' in the Library. Sun 24 November…

Sun 26 Jan 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Sun 23 Feb 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

BP Portrait Award 2019

The very best in contemporary portrait painting is on display for the most prestigious portraiture competition in the world.

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 94 more dates until 22 Mar 2020

British Sign Language (BSL) Tour: BP Portrait 2019

A free Deaf-led tour in British Sign Language (BSL). Enjoy light refreshments in our education rooms afterwards. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating…

Sat 11 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Curator’s Tour: Scotland’s Photograph Album

Blake L. Milteer, Curator, Photography (The MacKinnon Collection), will lead a tour of the Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection exhibition. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in…

Tue 7 Jan 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Dementia-friendly Concert - Live Music Now: Hannah Rarity and Luc McNally

Join us for a lively and inclusive concert that is open to all and particularly suitable for those with dementia and their families, supporters and carers. Folk duo Hannah Rarity and Luc McNally, comprising former BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018 and finalist, draw inspiration from the…

Mon 3 Feb 2020

Great Hall

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Easel Sketching in the Gallery

Sketching in the gallery, led by artist Damian Callan. A different subject each month and sometimes with a model.

Thu 23 Jan 2020

Great Hall

Free / 0131 624 6200

Fri 24 Jan 2020

Great Hall

Free / 0131 624 6200

Thu 20 Feb 2020

Great Hall

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 3 more dates until 20 Mar 2020

Gallery Social: BP Portrait Award 2019

A relaxed and informal guided tour with refreshments for anyone affected by dementia and their relatives, friends and supporters. Places are free, but limited so please book. Your guides will be carrying copies of the SOCIAL booklet so they can be easily identified at the meeting point. A full accessibility guide is…

Fri 28 Feb 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Gallery Social: Scotland’s Photograph Album: The Mackinnon Collection

A relaxed and informal guided tour with refreshments for anyone affected by dementia and their relatives, friends and supporters. Places are free, but limited so please book. Your guides will be carrying copies of the SOCIAL booklet so they can be easily identified at the meeting point. A full accessibility guide is…

Fri 31 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Gallery Social: The Mackinnon Collection

A relaxed and informal guided tour with refreshments for anyone affected by dementia and their relatives, friends and supporters. Places are free, but limited so please book. Your guides will be carrying copies of the SOCIAL booklet so they can be easily identified at the meeting point. A full accessibility guide is…

Fri 31 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Heroes and Heroines: The Victorian Age

Is history made by complex forces acting with and against each other, or by rugged Great Men shaping the world to their will? Unfortunately, some people still think it's the latter. This exhibition examines the role of hero-worship and how individuals shape history.

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 164 more dates until 31 May 2020

Imagining Power: The Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause

This dramatic exhibition considers the Jacobites - those loyal to the deposed Stuart dynasty at home and abroad. 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…

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 134 more dates until 1 May 2020

The King’s Last Day: The Execution of Charles I

A display centred on a picture by an unknown Dutch artist of one of the seminal moments in British history: the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 at Whitehall. Prints, paintings and miniatures from the collection are also featured.

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 134 more dates until 1 May 2020

The Modern Portrait

A new display showing highlights from the gallery's 20th and 21st century collection.

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 463 more dates until 28 Mar 2021

Open Studio: Make an Impression (Ages 1-3)

Messy, open, art-making mornings in the Studio. Bring a change of clothes! Booking essential. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less…

Tue 7 Jan 2020

Farmer Education Suite

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 4 Feb 2020

Farmer Education Suite

Free / 0131 624 6200

Open Studio: Make an Impression (Ages 1-3)

Messy, open, art-making mornings in the Studio. Bring a change of clothes! Booking essential. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less…

Tue 7 Jan 2020

Farmer Education Suite

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 4 Feb 2020

Farmer Education Suite

Free / 0131 624 6200

Portrait Gallery Tours: Contemporary Portraits

Monthly themed tours of the Portrait Gallery's exhibitions and displays. This month art historian Andrew Paterson gives a personal response to selected works from this year's BP Portrait Award exhibition, posing the question: What do we want from portrait painting today? A full accessibility guide is available at…

Sat 4 Jan 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Portrait Gallery Tours: Scotland’s Photograph Album

Monthly themed tours of the Portrait Gallery's exhibitions and displays. This month photographer and educator Alicia Bruce will lead a tour of the Scotland’s Photograph Album | The MacKinnon Collection exhibition. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the…

Sat 1 Feb 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Postcard Portraits (Ages 6+)

Pick up your postcard pack, find your portraits and create your own personal masterpieces! A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less…

Sun 12 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 624 6200

Sun 9 Feb 2020

Free / 0131 624 6200

Reformation to Revolution

At the beginning of the sixteenth century Scotland was a Catholic state governed by the Stewart dynasty (who later spelled their name Stuart). By the close of the seventeenth century the monarchy, church and parliament had all changed drastically. After 1603 the Stuarts, now based in London, were absentee rulers, and…

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 134 more dates until 1 May 2020

The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation 1760-1860

Between 1760 and 1860, Scotland’s place in the world was dramatically remade. From a longstanding position at the periphery, Scotland rapidly attained a central role in European cultural life and in Britain’s industrial and imperial expansion. This exhibition explores the lives and careers of the Scots behind this period…

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 185 more dates until 21 Jun 2020

Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection

Photographs collected by Murray MacKinnon, representing Scottish life and identity from the 1840s through the 1940s, a century marked by transformation and innovation.

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 59 more dates until 16 Feb 2020

Scots in Italy: Artists and Adventurers

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…

Sun 15 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Mon 16 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

Tue 17 Dec

Free / 0131 624 6200

…and 134 more dates until 1 May 2020

Special Concert: Tinderbox Orchestra

Tinderbox is a diverse collective of young people, musicians, artists, youth workers and volunteers. Part of its magic comes from not quite knowing where it will take you, but thousands of young people could tell you about the spark it has ignited in them. From hip hop to singer-songwriters, traditional folk to…

Sat 8 Feb 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Visually Impaired Tour and Workshop: Scotland’s Photograph Album: The Mackinnon Collection

A free descriptive tour, followed by a practical workshop for visually impaired visitors. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less…

Wed 22 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Visually Impaired Tour and Workshop: The Mackinnon Collection

A free descriptive tour, followed by a practical workshop for visually impaired visitors. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less…

Wed 22 Jan 2020

Meet at main entrance

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 624 6200

Wee Treasures (Ages 2-5)

Multisensory storytelling in the gallery, inspired by a different painting each month. A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org. We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded…

Sat 4 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 624 6200

Sat 1 Feb 2020

Free / 0131 624 6200

Reviews & features

Best free world-class art to enjoy in Edinburgh and Glasgow

21 Sep 2018

With a range of free galleries and exhibitions across both cities, there's plenty of scope to have a very arty day out on a shoestring budget

In Edinburgh, entry to all of the National Galleries doesn't cost a penny. The Scottish National Gallery on the Mound has one of the best fine art collections in the world, and is open daily (10am–6pm). Here, you'll find masterpieces by Botticelli…

Edinburgh Art Festival features of leading international and UK artists

2 Aug 2018

Major retrospectives of Rembrandt and Nolde are alongside work from emerging and established artists from Tacita Dean to Bill Viola

The Edinburgh Art Festival is in full swing, and whether you're a visual art fan who's already planning your itinerary or you just feel like taking a break from the tsunami of live performance, there are a lot of ways to see something a little quieter…

The Best Activities for Kids and Families in Edinburgh

3 Mar 2015

Places to go and things to do in Auld Reekie

Visitors have been climbing to the top of Camera Obscura’s rooftop chamber for over 150 years, so they must be doing something right. Up there, you can view Edinburgh through a giant periscope, ‘pick up’ a bus or person on a piece of paper, and learn…

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery want your children to become Portrait Detectives

9 Jan 2012

New events to get kids interested in the refurbished Gallery

Under wraps for the past two and a half years, the newly re-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery cuts quite a dash. But for younger visitors, the wow factor generated by a £17 million spend can be hard to see. Which is why events like Portrait…

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery re-opens

14 Dec 2011

Edinburgh gallery transformed after major refurbishment

The public and exhibition space within the Gallery has increased by more than 60% since its refurbishment; as well as the traditional (and much missed) artworks from the likes of Ramsay, Nasmyth and Raeburn being on prominent display, the new Scottish…

Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh reopens

18 Nov 2011

Three-year rejuvenation makes collection more accessible

It’s a starry night in early November, and I’m about to get my first taster of the newly refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The imposing sandstone building that sprawls across an entire block of Edinburgh’s Queen Street has been closed…

The most significant works of art in Edinburgh

16 Feb 2011

Scotland's National Galleries are home to many major works

What’s your idea of true art? The perfect peachy bums of The Three Graces? Football mastermind Sir Alex Ferguson rendered in cut-up red postcards? A stern-faced ice-skating minister? Whatever tickles your artistic fancy, you can be sure to find it in…

Visual art: In the frame

15 Sep 2008

The most significant works of art in Scotland

Glasgow and Edinburgh’s galleries and museums play host to some of the most famous art works in the world. David Pollock selects the ten you cannot afford to miss.

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