The Royal Scottish Academy Building and the Scottish National Gallery

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The Royal Scottish Academy Building and the Scottish National Gallery 1916
  • Scottish Art
This print was issued to subscribers of a special edition of ‘The Royal Scottish Academy 1826 – 1916’, by William Darling McKay and Frank Rinder. It shows William Henry Playfair’s two great gallery buildings in the centre of Edinburgh, set beneath the magnificent backdrop of the Castle. Playfair strove to achieve harmony between the buildings and their picturesque surroundings. Cameron captured these temples to the arts and their setting with his typically economical use of line, creating an atmospheric print that celebrates Playfair’s designs. Cameron himself had a close association with this site. In 1920 he was selected to sit on the Board of Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, an appointment which he retained until his death in 1945.

Glossary Open


A printmaking technique that uses a needle to etch an image directly onto a copper plate. The resulting raised surface, or burr, which holds the ink used in the printmaking process produces a soft, velvety effect.


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.

Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) was formed in Edinburgh in 1826 by Scottish artists who felt alienated by what they perceived as the elitism of the Royal Institution and its management of contemporary art exhibitions. In 1835, the RSA secured exhibition rights in the Royal Institution building, which had been erected on The Mound by the Board of Manufactures in 1826. The RSA and the Board frequently argued over responsibilities for advanced art education. From 1859, the RSA shared the premises of the new National Gallery of Scotland under the Board’s custody. In 1910, after transferring most of its art collections to the Gallery, the RSA gained exclusive tenancy of the former Royal Institution building, where it continues to hold large-scale annual exhibitions.

Drypoint, Etching, Royal Scottish Academy


  • Acc. No. CAMERON.46
  • Medium Etching and drypoint on paper
  • Size 18.10 x 35.20 cm
  • Credit The Hon. Gertrude Forbes-Sempill Gift 1955