Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh Queen Street Building Photos, Robert Rowand Anderson Architect, Date

National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh

Art Gallery at 1 Queen Street design by architect Robert Rowand Anderson in the New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

post updated 5 November 2023

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scotland’s National Portrait Gallery was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson of Edinburgh, Scotland

National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen St, Edinburgh
Date built: 1889/95
Design: Robert Rowand Anderson, architect

£4.53m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund announced 30 Mar 2009


Highland Dress; Thomas Annan’s Glasgow; Sir John Lavery; Migration Stories
National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh Scottish National Portrait Gallery Scottish National Portrait Gallery Portrait Gallery Edinburgh

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) are delighted to announce that the HLF has confirmed the £4.5m award to support Portrait of the Nation, the imaginative scheme to renovate and rejuvenate the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Scottish Government already announced its support in December 2007 with a grant for £5.1 million.

James Holloway, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery said: “We are delighted with the support from the HLF. Their confidence in the scheme is a terrific boost at this critical stage of the project. Portrait of the Nation will enable us to create an imaginative and bold portrait gallery suitable for Scotland in 21st century for the enjoyment of the Scottish people and visitors to Scotland.”

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is the first purpose-built national portrait gallery in the world, and the refurbishment will mean that it will be used entirely for its intended purpose for the first time in its history. This outstanding Grade A building, at the heart of the New Town on Queen Street in Edinburgh, was designed by architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson to be a celebration of the people of Scotland. Portrait of the Nation will restore this ideal, breathing new life into its galleries at the same time as creating much needed new facilities.

Portrait of the Nation images:
Scottish National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh 1 Queen Street building design by architect Robert Rowand Anderson 1 Queen Street design by architect Robert Rowand Anderson

Portrait of the Nation will open up and restore large areas in order to create 50% more gallery space. A range of visitor services, including an education suite, a resource and learning centre and enhanced dining and retail areas, will all be underpinned by an innovative and far-reaching events programme.

The SNPG’s collection – a remarkable body of 30,000 works in a rich variety of media – is an exceptional resource. The collection will be presented in a reinvigorated and more engaging way, illustrating the richness of Scotland’s history and culture with a dynamic and extensive exhibition programme with a new emphasis on photography and Scottish art. The regularly changing exhibitions and increased number of works on display will ensure that there will always be something new to see.

An exterior view:
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
photo © National Galleries of Scotland

The HLF grant comes at the very moment when the gallery is about to close to the public in order to start the refurbishment process. The NGS are celebrating with a special Farewell Festival for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on April 4th and 5th. This is a weekend of celebratory events for visitors with a special emphasis on families and children. For further information please go to

National Portrait Gallery Funding
Ministers to provide £5.1m to the National Galleries of Scotland following the Heritage Lottery Fund’s £5m grant for £17.6m redevelopment of the 1 Queen Street property, set to complete in 2011.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery : Renewal Plans for 1 Queen Street, 2008

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen St
1 Queen Street building photo © Adrian Welch, Sep 2006

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is a ‘must see’ building – intricate craftwork and sculptures of famous Scots in old red sandstone externally; triple-height beautifully-lit entry hall with mural-in-frieze format of noted Scots in chronological order by William Hare (refurbished by LDN Architects).

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen Street
SNPG building photo © Adrian Welch, Sep 2006

Contact Details
Phone +44 (0)131 624 6200

The original architect of 1 Queen Street was Robert Rowand Anderson.

Address: 1 Queen Street, EH2

Edinburgh gallery at 1 Queen Street
1 Queen Street building image by architect Adrian Welch

National Portrait Gallery
National Galleries of Scotland inviting tenders until 20 Aug 2007 for consultants incl architect, structural engineer and lighting designer re the 1 Queen Street renewal project. Estimated value, excl VAT, £12.5m

Update about closeure for refurbishment
The 1 Queen Street property is to close for around 18 months for refurbishment. This historic Scottish capital building is set to reopen late in 2008.
May 2005

Key Objectives of Portrait of the Nation
Portrait of the Nation has three sets of objectives ¡V for our Audiences, Collections and Building – which will deliver a range of specific outcomes.

– Increase visitor figures by 50% to 300,000 a year.
– Introduce education facilities including;
– A multi-purpose Education Suite, suitable for a variety of groups
– A Seminar Room
– A new Education and Events Programme
– Create a new Resource and Learning Centre on the 1st floor.
– Introduce New Media interpretation facilities throughout the building.
– Create a Visitor Hub with a new shop, cafe, entrance desk and information point.

– Display 50% more works of art
– Introduce a new approach to the display and interpretation of the collection, with regularly changing exhibitions based around 5 Key Areas; Reformation, Empire, Enlightenment, Modernity and Contemporary.
– Create a helpful Introductory Gallery
– Create a permanent gallery for the Scottish National Photography Collection.
– Provide a focus for Scottish art, including a Contemporary Scotland Gallery.

– Restore original features, re-open parts of the building closed to the public and reinstate the top-lit galleries on the 2nd floor.
– Create 50% more exhibition space
– Create new visitor services

Queen Street Buildings Adjacent to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery:

No.9 Queen St: Royal College of Physicians, 1845, by Hamilton, late Greek Revival.

No.8 Queen St: by Robert Adam, 1771.

Edinburgh Building Designs

Contemporary Edinburgh Architectural Designs – recent selection from this website:

Some key Buildings near the Scottish National Portrait Gallery


Balmoral Hotel

Scott Monument

New Town St James Centre

St James Centre

Edinburgh Art Galleries

Edinburgh Art Gallery Buildings

Edinburgh Art Galleries Architectural Designs – key selection:

National Gallery of Scotland

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art + Dean Gallery

New Town RSA + Playfair Project

Fruitmarket Gallery

Comments / photos for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery Architecture design by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson Architect, renewal of 1 Queen Street property by LDN Architects, page welcome