Scottish National Portrait Gallery Print Room and Photography Collection


Prints and Drawings

The Gallery’s prints and drawings collection consists of 20,000 prints and around 1,500 drawings and watercolours. The drawings, dating from the sixteenth century to the present day, are almost exclusively of Scots, whilst the print collection comprises Scottish, English and foreign sitters. The collection also includes important caricatures and satires relating to aspects of Scottish history.

Miniatures and Medallions

The Portrait Gallery cares for the national collection of portrait miniatures. The collection spans the flourishing of this intimate form of portraiture – from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century – and also includes miniatures made in the twentieth century and beyond.

Also available for consultation are portrait medallions by James Tassie, the leading portrait modeller of the late eighteenth century, and a collection of commemorative medals.

Photography Collection

The photography collection at the National Galleries of Scotland was established in 1984 and based at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Its formation reflected the increased significance accorded to early photography, in particular the Gallery’s archive of calotype portraits by Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill. Today the Adamson and Hill collection amounts to over 6,000 photographs and is one of the largest and most important holdings of early photography in the world.

An active acquisitions programme means that the National Galleries of Scotland continues to acquire photography from the 1840s to the present day.

Opening hours

The Library is open by appointment, Monday to Friday 10am-1pm and 2-4.30pm.

First-time visitors will be asked to show some form of ID such as a passport or driver’s licence.

There is wheelchair access to the Library via a lift.

WiFi is available in the Library.

Groups of up to fifteen are welcome to visit the Library, visits should be pre-booked at least four weeks in advance.