Our ambitious plans to create an internationally significant new setting for the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art have been revealed this week, and construction work on our exciting transformation of the Scottish National Gallery is set to get underway in the autumn.
This major project will completely transform the way Scottish art is shown at the Gallery. The £22m scheme will create a new suite of exhibition spaces that will be directly accessible from the adjoining Princes Street Gardens, and provide a light-filled, new home for the our unrivalled collection of Scottish art, raising its profile for visitors from all over the world.
The vision for the project has been driven by the National Galleries’ ambition to ensure that the widest number of people can enjoy our art and activities. The displays in the new galleries will be directly informed by extensive research into the needs of existing and potential audiences, driven by what people want to see and how they want to discover it.
For the first time in thirty years, there will be new displays drawn from the Scottish and international collection on show throughout the entire Gallery. This fresh approach will allow us to tell much richer stories about Scotland’s art, reflecting the international significance of pioneering figures such as Allan Ramsay, Gavin Hamilton and Sir David Wilkie.
The Scottish National Gallery will be open – and free – as usual throughout the construction work. Milestones include the opening of a new coffee shop at Christmas, followed by a refreshed restaurant and shop, as well as new steps and accessible paths by Spring 2019. We intend to keep disruption in the surrounding area and in the Gallery itself to a minimum, though there will be some room closures as galleries are rehung, and the facilities in the gallery are refreshed.
Our Princes St Gardens entrance will become the main point of entry to the Gallery, giving instant access to the Scottish collection and much easier routes to the rest of the building as a whole. The project will create a beautiful new space in the heart of Edinburgh, which will be free for everyone to use and enjoy. A series of large windows, running the length of the gardens-level façade, will fill the galleries with light and colour, and offer spectacular views over one of the most celebrated cityscapes in the world. Extensive new landscaping in the gardens will radically improve access to this much-loved part of the city, and our new buggy park will also make it easier for families to enjoy everything the Gallery has to offer.