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The Scott Monument under Construction

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The Scott Monument under Construction 1843

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
In 1840 work began on the Scott Monument, which was designed by George Meikle Kemp and celebrates Scotland’s most famous author, Sir Walter Scott. From 1843 until its completion two years later, Hill and Adamson charted the monument’s progress. In order to get a clear view of the building works, they hoisted themselves and their equipment onto the roof of what is now the Royal Scottish Academy. In this image, the neo-gothic steeple of the monument is about half its final height. The background has since changed; the row of houses to the right no longer exists and the view of Calton Hill has been obscured by the Balmoral, a large hotel on Princes Street.

Glossary Open

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.

Royal Scottish Academy


  • Acc. No. PGP HA 424
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 20.10 x 14.90 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown