The National Galleries of Scotland announced that the new Scottish galleries at the Mound in Edinburgh will open to the public on September 30, 2023.
“The new spaces will be home to key works from the nation’s historic Scottish art collection, offering more than double the physical display space and transforming the visitor experience,” said National Galleries.
“With 10 displays in the new galleries, and new trails and activities on offer, everyone can look forward to experiencing the national collection of historic Scottish art like never before.”
The total project cost has been £38.62 million. This has been funded by major contributions from the Scottish Government (£15.25 million) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (£6.89 million).
A successful fundraising campaign raised over £16 million thanks to a 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 vision for the project has been driven by an ambition to ensure that the greatest number of people can enjoy key works that tell the fascinating story of Scottish art,” said National Galleries.
“The new fully accessible galleries will be entered directly from the adjoining East Princes Street Gardens and are free for all to explore.
“Large windows will 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.
“Scotland’s artistic legacy will be brought to life through much-loved Scottish Colourist paintings among other major works from the first half of the twentieth century.
“New ways of looking at Scotland’s built and natural 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.
“Reimagined displays of drawings and sketches will celebrate artists such as Glasgow Style pioneer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and 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.
“The new Scottish galleries at the National include 10 galleries at Gardens level and will be home to over 130 works of art.
“These bright, attractive spaces will showcase the magnificent collection of Scottish art in a series of new and engaging presentations.
“With even more to explore across the entire National, there will also be five new international hangs at the Mound level this summer, plus two additional Scottish displays, offering over 460 artworks to discover.
“This includes three areas specifically designed to display drawings and other fragile artworks that will regularly change throughout the year, increasing the overall offering at the National.”
John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “This project has been driven by an ambition to transform the experience of visiting the National and to show the extraordinary collections of Scottish art with pride in beautiful, new, light-filled spaces.
“We believe that we have created a National Gallery that is more open, engaging and inviting than ever before. Whether immersing themselves in the highly Romantic paintings of the Scottish Highlands, taking part in a family day or just enjoying the views, all are welcome to come and discover.
“We are incredibly grateful to all our funders including the Scottish Government, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, key trusts and foundations, our Patrons, American Patrons and Friends as well as the many private individuals and donors who have been so generous in supporting this project.”
Culture Minister Christina McKelvie 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 show this off to a wide national and international public.
“We have supported this redevelopment project from the start with a significant contribution of £15.25 million and it’s wonderful to see this will open soon so the public can enjoy these new galleries.”
Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Eilish McGuinness, said: “We are proud to have been part of the transformation of the National, which has been a source of inspiration and learning for over 150 years and holds a special place in the hearts of the Scottish people, and throughout the UK.
“Thanks to players of the National Lottery we have supported the project with a £6.89 million grant, from its earliest stages of planning, developing ideas and working with the team in delivering this complex and imaginative project.
“It’s exciting news that its now set to open its doors, inspiring generations to come, by offering a new perspective, doubling the gallery’s exhibition space, and improving access to its renowned collection of Scottish art. Having seen the project in its delivery I am now really looking forward to my first visit to the finished new gallery in September.”