About this artwork

This drawing of 1832, illustrates Playfair’s new vision for the extension of the Royal Institution building (now the Royal Scottish Academy). Playfair had designed the original building in 1822. This was small and had little decoration, a reflection of the lack of funding allocated for the original building project. By the 1830s, it was clear that the structure required enlargement. This drawing shows that Playfair proposed to extend the building by some sixty feet and to embellish the exterior with new carvings. His decorative scheme included the addition a frieze of acanthus wreaths and ornamentation of the pediments above the porticos. This new, more classical and opulent building was completed in 1835.

William Henry Playfair

William Henry Playfair