The Marvelous Collection of the Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy was established in 1826, and its primary function has always been to promote contemporary art originating from Scotland. The building that houses the academy was designed by William Henry Playfair and has recently been restored to ensure that this landmark building continues to stand proudly on Princess Street in Edinburgh. The architecture of the building compliments the spectacular pieces that have been collected for exhibition since 1831. The Royal Scottish Academy or RSA is a private institution that depends on donations, both in funding and artwork, to maintain the building and its treasures. The visual art extravaganza that the RSA offers to visitors makes it one of the most popular art galleries in Scotland.

The building is 1500 square meters in size and although the interior still boasts the original 1910 décor, it has been fitted with the most technologically advanced humidity control systems, to ensure the preservation of the art pieces. Lighting and filtration also play an important role. The most significant and rare pieces that date back between 180 and 200 years are located in the Dean Gallery for research and can only be viewed if prior arrangements have been made. Over and above the exquisite collection of paintings, the RSA also has an incredible collection of architectural drawings and sketches as well as breathtaking sculptures. Most impressive is the approximately 1000 piece William Gillies collection that was obtained by the RSA in 1973 and includes sketches, drawings and paintings by Gillies and his associates.

Temporary exhibitions at the Royal Scottish Academy are held throughout the year and, as with many galleries in Scotland, it is recommended to visit the gallery at various times to enjoy the different exhibits. Fine art film makers, artists and sculptors all get the chance to display their talents and educate the public on art and culture as well as the different forms and styles that exist. Art galleries such as the Royal Scottish Academy, make people aware of the talent that once lived and still carries on in Scotland today. The RSA is an amazing art gallery to visit for both its art works and the magnificent building that is home to the gallery.


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