New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh Arts building project, Gallery architecture images, Architect news

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh opening

29 September 2023

Design: Hoskins Architects

Location: Edinburgh, south east Scotland

The New Scottish Galleries At The National Opening 30 September 2023

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh

Photos by Gillian Hayes of dapple photography

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh, Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland is delighted to announce that the stunning new Scottish galleries at the National will open to the public this Saturday (30 September 2023). A free experience for everyone to enjoy, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre, the new Scottish galleries at the National showcase the very best historic Scottish art. With 150 years of Scotland’s art to discover in the contemporary and fresh new spaces, visitors are sure to recognise some much-loved favourites as they travel through the galleries.

Transforming the visitor experience and more than doubling the physical display space, 12 breathtaking galleries allow visitors to dive into dramatic landscapes, encounter iconic images and be wowed by art from 1800 to 1945. Spectacular views over the city entice visitors to come in and discover the work of pioneering Scottish artists such as William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Boys.

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh

The Opening

The National Galleries of Scotland can’t wait to welcome the public through the doors on Saturday 30 September from 10am. Visitors can come in and explore the new galleries, whether immersing themselves in the highly Romantic paintings of the Scottish Highlands, on a day out with the family or just enjoying the views, all are welcome to come and discover.

Key information

• Opening Saturday 30 September and open daily 10am-5pm
• New Scottish galleries at the National (East Princes Street Gardens entrance)
• Over 130 works of Scottish art to enjoy. Highlights include the works of pioneering Scottish artists such as William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Boys. Featuring spectacular art works such as Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen, John Duncan’s Saint Bride, Phoebe Anna Traquair’s Progress of a Soul, William Bell Scott’s Una and the Lion and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s Mysterious Garden among many more
• The spaces have been made more accessible than ever before, visitors can wander through a fresh and contemporary new gallery where the historic Scottish art pops off the walls
• Prior to construction, less than 19% of visitors would visit the Scottish Collection in this wing. This project was all about improving the visitor experience and the way the nations world class collection of Scottish Art is displayed. The new Scottish galleries at the National aim to be as accessible as possible to ensure that as many people as possible can explore Scotland’s historic art collection
• Previously, larger art works were unable to be displayed in this area of the gallery. Now many works will go on display for the first time
• Supported by the Scottish Government and the The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as donations from trusts, foundations, Patrons, the National Galleries of Scotland’s Friends organisation, American Patrons and a wide range of private individuals
• As part of the project an incredible number of paintings, sculptures and works on paper have been conserved, restored, reframed, remounted, researched and glazed. Conservation of important and rare historic frames has also been a priority. This included:
– 673 paintings, about 700 frames and 240 artworks on paper were surveyed
– 15 major paintings restorations and about 200 paintings treatments were completed
– 100 drawings were technically examined, with 30 works treated and 100 remounted
– About 250 frames were treated, 7 reproduction frames were made from scratch for paintings and 100 new frames were made for works on paper

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh

Timeline

• Planning permission was first granted in August 2016
• The second reworked permission was granted June 2018
• Contractor (Interserve, now Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd) was appointed in two stages March 2016 and Sept 2018. Construction began in October 2018
• The first phase of the project was completed successfully in 2019. This included a new entrance area in East Princes Street Gardens, a new café, refurbished restaurant and shop, an elegant sandstone terrace, and new landscaping and paths to improve access to the gardens and the galleries
• Project completion and handover July 2023

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh gallery building

Funding

The total project cost is £38.62 million. This has been funded by major contributions from the Scottish Government (£15.25m) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (£6.89 million).

An extremely successful fundraising campaign raised over £16m thanks to an extraordinarily generous response in donations from trusts, foundations, Patrons, the National Galleries of Scotland’s Friends organisation, American Patrons and a wide range of private individuals.

The Art

Come on a journey through nearly 150 years of Scottish art. Discover the gripping story behind Francesca da Rimini (1837) by William Dyce and the vibrant, detailed embroidery of Phoebe Anna Traquair’s The Progress of a Soul (1895–1902).

The new Scottish galleries at the National will bring the nation’s artistic heritage to life – from much-loved Scottish Colourists as well as major works from the first half of the twentieth century to stellar works from the early 1800s onwards. New ways of looking at Scotland’s natural and built environments will be on offer, with early photographs of Scotland’s capital city shown in the same spaces as grand paintings of majestic Highland landscapes, including works such as Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen. Reimagined displays of drawings and sketches will celebrate artists such as Glasgow Style pioneer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Alloa-born David Allan, whose depictions of ‘Edinburgh Characters’ will allow visitors to get up close to street life in the Scottish capital in the late eighteenth century.

There are also regularly changing displays of drawings, watercolours, early photographs and prints. These galleries celebrate the richness and variety of Scottish art made from around 1800 to 1945.

When the National first opened in 1859, there were few Scottish works of art in the national collection. It now forms the largest group of Scottish artworks in the world, numbering about 60,000 objects. Built up over many years, this collection reflects the interests and concerns of past generations. We believe these displays signal exciting possibilities for the future and are proud to share them with you.

With even more to explore across the National, there will also be five new international hangs at the Mound level to enjoy, offering in total over 460 artworks to discover. These galleries feature international superstars such as Poussin, Gauguin, Monet, Chardin and Canaletto. Female artists Berthe Morisot, Angelica Kauffman and Elisabetta Sirani are also on display on the Mound level. The new Scottish galleries at the National also include three new areas specifically designed to display drawings and other fragile artworks, which will change regularly throughout the year.

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh gallery building interior

The Building

Transforming the visitor experience and more than doubling the physical display space, 12 breathtaking galleries allow visitors to dive into dramatic landscapes, encounter iconic images and be wowed by art from 1800 to 1945. Previously the National provided 1707m2 gallery space, of which The Scottish Collection Gallery was 450m2. The new galleries are now 925m2 plus an additional 140m2 of introductory space.

The new fully accessible galleries can be entered directly from the adjoining East Princes Street Gardens and are free for all to explore. Large windows offer spectacular views over the city, enticing visitors to come in and discover the work of pioneering Scottish artists such as William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Boys.

The new galleries are reached by a new accessible path in Princes Street Gardens and new lifts, and now boast a partial changing places facility, accessible entrance, accessible toilets, and a pram store. These fresh new spaces will showcase the nation’s magnificent collection of historic Scottish art in new and engaging ways. With a series of new audience focused displays, trails, audio guides and events, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Design Team

• Project Manager and Principal Designer: Gardiner & Theobald
• Quantity Surveyors: Gardiner & Theobald
• Architects (Lead Consultant) and Contract Administrators: Hoskins Architects
– Structural Engineers: Narro Associates
– Mechanical & Services Engineers: Harley Haddow Ltd
– Landscape Architecture: Rankinfraser
– Conservation Architects: Simpson & Brown
– Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major LLP
– Fire Engineer: Arup
• Exhibition Designers: Metaphor
• Clerk of Works: Sentinel
• Addyman Archeology

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh gallery interior

Construction

Construction and excavation of the new Scottish galleries at the National.

The construction of the new Scottish galleries was one of the most complex engineering projects undertaken in a heritage building in Scotland; working within the constraints of a UNESCO World Heritage site, above railway tunnels and excavating beneath a category-A listed building.

The creation of new gallery spaces has entailed extensive excavation underneath the existing building and its setting on the Mound. The National is also situated above three rail tunnels, some of the busiest in Scotland.

Several issues were discovered when the 1970s building was fully stripped back to its core concrete structure. These included multiple instances of undocumented asbestos deposits which required safe removal; damp and water ingress issues which substantially changed the extent of the waterproofing requirements and undocumented obstructions including remnants from previous developments, which added significant complexity to the building work. Deeply buried layers of dense concrete had to be extracted, impacting on the sequencing of the works while managing the unique complexity of the engineering works. Just over 800 cubic metres of concrete were removed from site. All these challenges were successfully overcome to create generous, high-quality new spaces for the world’s most important collection of historic Scottish art.

Contractors:

• Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd (formally Interserve Ltd)

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh gallery interior design

Learning and Development

The new Scottish galleries have been designed with everyone in mind.

The new spaces offer:

• A new Audio Description Tour and British Sign Language tour
• Sensory bags – Inspired by art works in the new Scottish galleries each item has been carefully chosen to support your visit. These bags include a selection of sensory items: soft toy, small rattle, feather, plastic shells, wooden leaves, view finder, fidget toy, ribbon wand.
• A partial changing places facility
• Pram store
• Family friendly mornings
• Art Trolley – located in the Main Entrance Gallery, all visitors will be able make use of this. It is stocked with drawing materials, story books, cushions, ear defenders, sketch books, paper and sensory bags.
• Family Trails for children under 5. Pick up this fun trail and explore nature in the new Scottish galleries and in Princes Street Gardens. Created for our wee visitors and their grown ups
• Family Trails for children 6 and over. This trail isn’t about dates or even artists’ names. It’s about looking, thinking, and talking about art, and encouraging you to make your own.

While construction has been ongoing, a wide programme of engagement and outreach for the project has also been delivered. This has included activities in schools from Hawick to Hoy in Orkney and West Lothian, social groups for older people experiencing loneliness in Edinburgh, and youth groups in the Borders. This exciting programme of activity will continue to engage with communities after the opening. A series of engaging videos about star works of art from the Scottish collection has also been produced, and a painstaking monumental conservation project gripped online audiences during lockdown.

New Scottish galleries at the National picture windowL
New Scottish galleries at the National picture window

New Scottish galleries at the National opens

The new galleries are easier to access than ever before, to ensure that the greatest number of people can discover the fascinating Scottish art on display. They have an accessible path in east Princes Street Gardens, new lifts, a partial changing place facility, accessible entrance, accessible toilets and a pram store. These fresh new spaces will showcase the nation’s magnificent collection of historic Scottish art in new and engaging ways. With a series of new trails, audio guides and events, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

With even more to explore across the National, there will also be five new international hangs at the Mound level to enjoy, offering in total over 460 artworks to discover. These galleries feature international superstars such as Poussin, Gauguin, Monet, Chardin and Canaletto. The new Scottish galleries at the National also includes three new areas specifically designed to display drawings and other fragile artworks, which will change regularly throughout the year.

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “With this project we set out to transform the experience of visiting the National and to show the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art with real pride and ambition. With the new Scottish galleries at the National, we have achieved these aims and more. The gallery is more accessible than ever before and there is a stunning new display of 150 years of Scottish art in all its richness and depth. From this Saturday, everyone is welcome to discover a brilliant new experience, free, in the heart of our nation’s capital.”

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “The National Galleries of Scotland has the world’s finest collection of Scottish Art and I’m delighted that the new galleries will now have space to showcase this to a national and international audience. We have supported this redevelopment project from the start with a significant contribution of £15.25 million and it’s wonderful to see the new galleries open, allowing everyone to enjoy them.”

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland said: “National Galleries of Scotland have created a truly world-class facility showcasing Scotland’s distinctive and internationally important artistic heritage. This iconic building at the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site is safeguarded for the future, creating a focus for our cultural and economic renewal. We are proud and excited to welcome the world to Edinburgh to enjoy the new galleries. We believe heritage helps us to understand who we are and where we are from; and so, we join with the National Galleries of Scotland in declaring this is a place for the people of Scotland. Our support for this project is thanks to National Lottery players and we encourage them to visit as soon and often as they can.”

The total project cost is £38.62 million. This has been funded by major contributions from the Scottish Government (£15.25m) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (£6.89 million). An extremely successful fundraising campaign raised over £16m thanks to an extraordinarily generous response in donations from trusts, foundations, Patrons, the National Galleries of Scotland’s Friends organisation, American Patrons and a wide range of private individuals.

The picture window:
New Scottish galleries at the National Edinburgh picture window

Background information on the new Scottish galleries at the National:

• The construction began in October 2018. The first phase of the project was completed successfully in 2019. This included a new entrance area in East Princes Street Gardens, a new café, refurbished restaurant and shop, an elegant sandstone terrace, and new landscaping and paths to improve access to the gardens and the galleries.
• The construction has been complex. Situated within a World Heritage Site the galleries are part of an iconic A-listed nineteenth-century building with several major modern additions from the late 1960s onwards. The creation of new gallery spaces has entailed extensive excavation underneath the existing building and its setting on the Mound. The National is also sited above the three rail tunnels, some of the busiest in Scotland.
• The new Scottish galleries at the National have been designed by one of Scotland’s leading architectural practices, Hoskins Architects. Exhibition design is by award-winning firm, Metaphor.

New Scottish galleries at the National Edinburgh grand stair:
New Scottish galleries at the National Edinburgh grand stair

About the new Scottish galleries at the National

Your new Scottish galleries at the National.

Get to know Scotland in a whole new light. Discover 150 years of the very best Scottish art. Dive into dramatic landscapes, encounter iconic images and be wowed by colour. A new free experience for everyone to discover, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre.

The new Scottish galleries at the National open on 30 September.
#NewScottishGalleries #CelebratingScotlandsArt

National Galleries of Scotland

We are the National Galleries of Scotland and our three Edinburgh galleries are the National, Modern and Portrait. We house and look after Scotland’s amazing world-class art collection. Step inside and explore treasures from Botticelli and Titian to the very best modern art and contemporary portraits of pop culture icons.

And, as you’d expect, the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art. We’re a space for thinking, dreaming, doing and playing. Soak up the art. Meet friends in the cafés. Have a family picnic surrounded by the sculptures in the Modern grounds. Be inspired by our amazing art films. Choose your own experience. There is no one way to enjoy Scotland’s national collection. We are yours to discover.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Welcome | The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund
Follow our Scottish accounts @HeritageFundSCO on Twitter and Facebook
Each week, National Lottery players raise £30 million for good causes across the UK.

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh – Building Information

Client: National Galleries of Scotland – Ann Wilson (Client Project Manager)

Internal Hoskins Architects Team: Chris Coleman-Smith & Thomas Hamilton (Directors); Joanna Lee & Dan Lowe (Project Architects)

Structural engineer: David Narro Associates – Dominic Echlin (Director), Craig MacLaren (Project Engineer)
MEP consultant: Harley Haddow Partnership – Mark Napier (Director), Alistair Milne (Director), Euan Skene (Engineer)
Quantity surveyor cost consultant: Gardiner & Theobald – Stuart Gray (QS), Ben Robson (QS)
Fire Engineer: Arup Fire – Hugh McNamara, Angus Elliott
Landscape Architect: Rankinfraser – David Muir
Conservation Architect: Simpson & Brown – John Sanders

Photographs: dapple photography, www.dapplephotography.co.uk

Hoskins Architects

New Scottish galleries at the National, Edinburgh images / information from received 290923 from

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