National Galleries of Scotland archive

In order to help protect the health of our staff and visitors during this difficult time we have closed all of our research rooms. During this time we're not taking bookings for individual appointments or group visits.

Location: All galleries
Open by appointment: Closed
Contact: [email protected]

The majority of the National Galleries of Scotland archival records relating to the history of the Galleries are held at the National Records of Scotland. These comprise of committee minutes and papers, building records, letter books, correspondence and miscellaneous papers dating from 1727 - 1930.

View Gallery archive materials held at the National Records of Scotland

We do hold a small archive of papers relating to each of the Galleries.

The archival material held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery includes:

  • Curatorial papers created by former keepers of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery covering the years [1884] - 1951 and 1972 - 1976 (material consists of manuscript notebooks, loose notes, correspondence, and photographs detailing portraits in public and private collections)
  • The Scottish Sculpture Archive, created as a result of research carried out by the National Galleries of Scotland curatorial staff and covers Scottish sculpture for the years 1540 – 1990
  • Account books detailing payment for portraits by portrait painters Colvin Smith (1796 - 1875) and William Douglas (1780 - 1832)
  • Documents relating to the professional and personal life of the miniature painter Andrew Robertson (1777 - 1845)


Search the Archive catalogue

The archival material held at the the Scottish National Gallery includes:

  • Scottish National Gallery board minutes (1907 - 2007)
  • National Galleries of Scotland bulletins and newsletters (1967 - 2005)
  • Accession files (these files contain material relating to the purchase of items in the collection, and accompanying research material)



Book a visit

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. 

Groups of up to 10 are welcome to visit the library.
Group visits should be pre-booked at least four weeks in advance.

+44 (0)131 624 6407

[email protected]