Alexander Nasmyth

Princes Street with the Commencement of the Building of the Royal Institution

About this artwork

This grand panorama combines Nasmyth's atmospheric treatment of the sky and distant features with great topographical accuracy. The view of Princes Street looking east contrasts the New Town buildings on the left with the Old Town on the right, crowned by the distinctive open spire of St Giles Cathedral. In the distance, Arthur's Seat and The Nelson Monument on Calton Hill punctuate the skyline. One of Edinburgh's finest buildings devoted to the arts is under construction in the foreground. The Royal Institution, later home to the Royal Scottish Academy, was designed by William Henry Playfair and opened in 1826. Now known as the Royal Scottish Academy Building, it is owned and administered by the National Galleries of Scotland and is the city's main exhibition venue.

Audio commentary

This commentary is part of the National audio tour. Listen to the whole tour in Smartify.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
    Alexander Nasmyth (1758 - 1840) Scottish
  • title:
    Princes Street with the Commencement of the Building of the Royal Institution
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    Image: 120.50 x 163.50 cm; Canvas: 122.50 x 165.50 cm; Framed: 155.30 x 197.50 x 17.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by Sir David Baird 1991
  • accession number:
    NG 2542
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • artwork photographed by:
    Antonia Reeve
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Alexander Nasmyth

Alexander Nasmyth