Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25570 74253
325570, 674253


Robert Rowand Anderson, 1885-90; sculpture by W Birnie Rhind,

C McBride, DW & W Grant Stevenson, John Hutchison and Pittendrigh MacGillivray. Imposing symmetrical 3-storey Spanish Gothic picture gallery and museum with copious sculptural decoration. Red Corsehill sandstone ashlar to principal elevations, coursed bull-faced rubble to secondary elevations. Pointed arch openings throughout; marble shafted columns to 1st floor windows. Base course; dentilled cornice; pierced parapet. Octagonal corner towers with slender buttresses and niches to each face containing figures; crocketed octagonal pinnacles (latter all recently reinstated).

QUEEN STREET ELEVATION: 9-bay. Arched and gabled 2-stage centrepiece at centre; shouldered door contained within tripartite doorpiece, itself within large single arch; 3 figure panels above support

4 arcaded windows surmounted by further sculptured panel; all contained within further arch and pediment; flanking pinnacled buttresses with figures in niches. Flanking wings with large windows at ground and paired windows at 1st floor with simple cusped tracery. 2nd floor virtually blind.

SIDE ELEVATIONS: 4-bay. 2 tiers of rectangular bipartite windows at ground; 1st floor as above; 2nd floor with rectangular cusped bipartite windows.

REAR ELEVATION: simplified version of front elevation.

Multi-pane timber casement and sash and case windows. Piended roof; grey slates; boiler stack distinctive Anderson component derived from continental precedents.

INTERIOR: lobby leads to 2-storey arcaded central Hall, with decorative painted frieze of celebrities from Scottish history by William Hole, 1887-1901; astrological ceiling. Flanked by pair of scale and platt stairs with vaulted landings. Principal galleries simple 2-aisled halls; further top-lit galleries on 2nd floor, together with galleried Library of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Stained glass window in E stair with medallion portraits of contemporary antiquaries by WG Boss, 1895, to Anderson?s design; armorial windows in Hall by Margaret Chilton and Marjorie Kemp, 1932.

LAMP STANDARDS: pair of elaborate octagonal gothic lamp standards with granite plinths flank entrance.

Statement of Special Interest

Crown property. Parapet and pinnacles removed 1980 as they were dangerous and restored 1991-3. Gifted to the nation, through the Board of Manufactures, by JR Findlay, the proprietor of the Scotsman, to house both a National Portrait Gallery and the (publicly owned) collections of the Society of Antiquaries. Architectural sources range from the Doge's Palace to George Gilbert Scott, via Anderson's own published drawings of houses in Cordes and Figeac, but the taste of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and especially Anderson's Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, which was derived from similar sources, are predominant. The principal facade was originally to be terminated by a pair of large Franco-Scottish tourelles, but these were replaced, at Findlay?s request, by the existing octagonal turrets. The building was officially opened on the 15th July 1889, although it was not until many years later that the decorative schemes were completed. The National Museum of Antiquities is soon to move out (1998), leaving the entire building for the Portrait Gallery.



BUILDER 3rd January 1885, 1st January 1898. BRITISH ARCHITECT 11th January 1889. Helen Smailes PORTRAIT GALLERY FOR SCOTLAND (1985).

Sam McKinstry ROWAND ANDERSON (1991) pp110-112 Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) pp283-4. Charles McKean EDINBURGH RIAS Guide (1992) p110. Edinburgh University MSS Rowand Anderson Collection (copies at NMRS). Area Works Office, Dept of Enviroment, 1913 (copies at NMRS). National Art Survey Drawings; PSA Photographs (NMRS).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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