Display

Painting as Spectacle

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free

 

One room of this display (room 18) will be closed on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February.
See all temporary room closures

The Mound entrance to the National is currently closed. We are building a temporary ramp so we can install the Three Graces sculpture. We hope to have the doors reopened later this week. Step-free access to the National is via the Gardens Entrance in East Princes Street Gardens.

About

The years 1785–1865 were the era of the ‘statement picture’. Spectacular paintings of a colossal size were created with educated and cultured audiences in mind. Some, including the works in this display by were private commissions made on a royal scale which presented family history as national propaganda.

The Royal Academy of Arts, founded in London in 1768, and the Royal Scottish Academy, established in Edinburgh in 1826, provided a prominent stage for exhibiting such theatrical blockbusters. Certain entrepreneurial artists, including John Singleton Copley and Samuel Bough, produced celebratory modern history paintings as commercial speculations, dealers and publishers collaborating with artists by issuing reproduction prints of these epic works for the popular market.

Event accessibility

Display accessibility

  • Wheelchair access

Location

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Accessibility

Gallery facilities

Detailed information on accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

Our partial Changing Places toilet has all of the facilities of a full Changing Places toilet, and though the floor area meets the overall size requirement (13.54m2 minimum), it is just a little too narrow to be classed as a full Changing Places toilet. 

There are a limited number of small lockers available, but there is no space to store large items of luggage.

There is limited on street parking close by including for those with a blue badge. 

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Café
  • Restaurant
Getting here

Getting here

The National can be found just off Princes Street in the city centre.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

Friends go free

Friends go free

Become a Friend to enjoy unique access to the nation’s art collection with unlimited free entry to exhibitions, Friends-only exhibition previews and a 10% discount in our gallery shops & cafés.

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