The Royal Institution
now named the Royal Scottish Academy

Looking doen Hanover Street towards the Royal Scottish Academy - by GW Wilson

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This is the gallery facing directly onto Princes Street, seen in the photograph above.  It was designed by Playfair and built on wooden piles as the ground on which it was built had been an earthen mound built over a bog.

The Royal Institution, opened in 1822, was the Headquarters for the Board of Manufacturers.

The gallery also housed:

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Society of Antiquities of Scotland

-   The Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland

The Edinburgh Art Union  

and other Edinburgh learned societies and Art organizations

The Royal Institution rented space to the Royal Scottish Academy for its Annual Exhibitions, until it could no longer afford the space to do so.

The gallery has sculpture of Queen Victoria by Steele, the sculptor who produced several other monuments around Edinburgh,  above the entrance.

The Board of Manufactures

The Board of Manufactures was originally established as The Board of Trustees for Manufactures in Scotland, in terms of an Act of Parliament in 1727 to:

"encourage and promote the fisheries or such other manufactures and improvements in Scotland as may most conduce to the general good of the United Kingdom."

[Notes on the Early History of the RSA:  George Harvey]


The National Gallery of Scotland

behind the Royal Institution

Post Card  -  The Scott Monument, Princes Street  -  James Patrick

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The National Gallery of Scotland (left, on this post-card), like the Royal Scottish Academy (right, partially in view), was designed by Playfair.  

It was built on ground immediately behind the Royal Institution, and above the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway tunnel.  This ground had been previously occupied by Wombwell's Menagerie

The National Gallery was created as a home for a National Gallery of paintings, and to accommodate the Royal Scottish Academy's annual exhibitions.  The foundation stone laid by Prince Albert on  30 Aug 1850

The first exhibition was held in the partially completed building, 1855.  The building was formally opened 1859.  It was renovated in 1988, and further work is currently being carried out in 2002.

[NGS, 1988]



The National Galleries


1840s      Earthen Mound      2 Galleries      4 Galleries     Future      Artists


Thumbnails     Future     Exhibitions


1850s    1876    1890    1995

Art Manufactures 1856   1857   1861


The Mound     6 small maps      1830      1840     1850     1860     1870     2001