Edinburgh Today

National Galleries

Playfair Project

  Engraving in 'Modern Athens'  -  The Royal Institution from Princes Street ©

Royal Scottish Academy


Major work has been carried out on the Royal Scottish Academy, at the foot of the Mound,  beginning in 1999.  Restoration has been carried out both inside and outside the gallery, and an underground link  and provide a link to the National Gallery of Scotland, immediately to the South.

 The National Galleries  -  Excavation work for the Playfair Project  -  20 August 2002 ©

This is the Playfair Project.  Stage One of this project has cost £30m, and is due to be completed in time to enable the Gallery to open again to host an exhibition of Monet paintings on 6 August 2003.

Finishing touches are now [July 03] being put to the exterior furnishings, including some attractive new railings and lamp-posts around the gallery.  The foundations have been made sound with a concrete base underground replacing the rotted timber piles which have recently been unable to provide much support for the building.

The interior is now air conditioned to the standard required to host major exhibitions. The stone walls and floors of North American oak, new glass lift and circular staircase await the opening on 6 August.

Phase 2 of the Playfair project includes a Café, exhibition space and the underground link to the National Gallery of Scotland is due to be completed ahead of schedule in August 2004.

[Edinburgh Evening News  1 July 2003, pp. 14, 15]

Queen Victoria Statue

Contributions are being sought to help fund the development work in the galleries. 
A private donation of £100,000 has been received, the money to be used to restore the statue of Queen Victoria that sits on to of the National Galley.

Re-opening - Stage 1

The Gallery was re-opened with a private viewing of its Monet exhibition on Saturday 2 August 2003.  Four days later, the exhibition, comprising 74 paintings by Monet, was opened to the public.

The Royal Scottish Academy re-opens with its Monet exhibition  -  August 2003 ©

There appeared to have been very successful.  There were 19,000 visitors in the first week, and a long queue on the final day that the exhibition was open, in October.

The exhibition attracted a total of 173,000 visitors, and made a healthy profit.  The previous record attendance for an exhibition at the gallery was 85,000

Re-opening - Stage 2

Stage 2 of the development provides an link between the two existing galleries at the foot of the mount, with a classical frontage facing to the east on to East Princes Street Gardens.

This link will include a new 200-seat lecture theatre, education rooms, an IT gallery and a new Café overlooking Princes Street Gardens.  It will open on Thursday 5 August 2004, eight months ahead of schedule, in time for the Gallery's new exhibition:   The Age of Titian.

Other Galleries

The galleries being linked as part of the Playfair Project are just two of five galleries in Edinburgh owned by the National Galleries of Scotland.



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