Art Spot

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is full of people who shaped Scotland’s past, present and future. Who will you meet - and what will you spot - when you visit? Here's a few of our favourite things to spot, starting from the top of the building and working our way down, but we'd love to know what your favourites are! 

You can pick up a paper version of this trail at the gallery, or you can download it.

Security and Visitor Services staff

Say ‘hello!’ or ‘goodbye!’

Our job is to keep the art and everyone safe.

If you find a favourite artwork, let us know which one!

If you get stuck, we’re here to help.

Level 2

Wonderful windows

East stairs

What shapes can you see?

How might it feel different standing here on a sunny or a grey day?

When you get home, design your own stained-glass window for your bedroom - think about shapes, colours and symbols.

Kings and queens


Find an outfit fit for a King or Queen.

How is it different to what you’re wearing?

What do you think it would feel like to wear?

Clothes from the past


Pick an outfit with fancy frills or delicate details.

What would it feel like to wear?

Would it make your daily life easier or more difficult? Why?

How do you (or others around you) dress to impress?

Pets in paintings


Sometimes you can find pets in the portraits on this level.

What do you think the animals would tell us about their owners?

Swords & shields


Find a painting with a battle or soldiers.

Imagine you’ve stepped into the painting.

What do you think might happen next?

West stairs

Sculpted heads


Do you recognise any of the people?

If not, do you think they are important? Why?

Are there any clues to who the person might be?

Level 1

Family crest

The Great Hall

Some of these crests have things that were important to the people in the artwork.

What objects would you include in a portrait of your family?

People, objects, names, places?

Beasties in branches

The Great Hall

Can you find any creatures in the leaves on the pillars?

Ground floor

Funny facial hair

The Great Hall

Who has the best moustache, beard or old-fashioned hairstyle in the Great Hall?

Can you find out what they are famous for?


The Great Hall

Say hello to Robert Burns.

Copy his pose. Do you think it makes you look brave?

How would you pose for a statue of you?

Stars in the sky

The Great Hall

Can you spot 3 creatures up in the stars?

Look at all the people in a long procession above the arches.

Who would you put in your own version? Celebrities? Your family? Your friends?