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 23653 73875
323653, 673875


Thomas Hamilton, 1831-3, incorporating earlier clock; later conversion to art gallery 1999, Terry Farrell and Partners. Large 2 storey and basement Neo-Baroque former orphanage set onto terrace in extensive grounds off Belford Road, with prominent Tuscan portico and openwork towers. Sandstone ashlar. Large pedimented central portico; advanced end blocks.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 11 bays flanked by advanced 2-bay corner pavilions. Central steps and tetra-style portico with round arched surround and fanlight to main entrance. Large attic storey above portico, stepped with clock (originally from Netherbow Port) to centre flanked by large scrolls and urns. Moulded string course to centre at basement. Moulded cill course at ground floor. Paired moulded band courses at 1st floor. Deep corniced and consoled eaves course. Moulded architraved surrounds to windows at ground and 1st floors. Large rectangular windows at ground floor flanking main doorway with radially glazed fanlights over. Pilastered round arched surrounds at 1st floor to corner blocks, with small fielded panels beneath cills and scrolled keystones. TOWERS: pair of single stage openwork towers on corniced plinths to left (W) and right (E); set to centre of roof. Large scrolled brackets to each corner supporting octagonal columns; urns on rectangular plinths with scrolls to sides. Keystoned round arched openings with balustrade above of narrow arcaded arches, small foliate crests to centre. Columns topped by moulded rectangular plinths supporting octagonal chimney stacks with clay cans.

W (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2 storeys and basement with 3-bay centre flanked by advanced single bays. Arcaded balustrade with coped octagonal pier at ground floor to left (N), perpendicular to façade. Regular fenestration.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: regular fenestration, similar to that at S elevation; 2 large cart arched openings at ground floor flanked by smaller doorways.

E (SIDE) ELEVATION: similar to that at W elevation.

TERRACE: significant stone terracing with predominantly plain sandstone ashlar walls and urns.

Margin-paned glazing in timber sash and case windows, with some geometric glazed fanlights. Shallow pitch roof; stacks integrated into towers with modern clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: simple interior scheme, now in use as exhibition space. Large entrance vestibule with keystoned round arched niches to either side. Central spine corridor with coffered ceiling opens onto double height space to rear at ground floor. Dog-leg stairs to each end with sloped walls to lantern above (forming part of tower to exterior) giving onto similar arrangement of rooms at 2nd floor. Later alterations to form art gallery throughout; including the studio of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi at ground floor.

Statement of Special Interest

Outstanding example of a Neo-Baroque former orphanage with high quality architectural detailing and little later alteration changing character of the design. The plan of the building is reminiscent of the English Baroque, but the architectural detailing is predominantly Neo-Classical. The design draws inspiration from the work of Vanbrugh, which can be seen particularly in the openwork towers and the integration of the chimney stacks into the columns. The classical detailing is similar to the work of George Dance at Ashburnham, and Hamilton subtly combines these influences with elements characteristic of his own style such as the margin pane glazing. The building acts as a significant landmark with the towers particularly visible from the surrounding area. The gallery now houses a collection of modern art, including an important collection of works by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

The building was originally built as an orphanage and the plan form with two symmetrical sides and a stair at each end was to provide separate accommodation for boys and girls. The prominent towers form part of a ventilation system which was designed to draw fresh air through the building from vents at the ground floor. The clock was moved from a demolished building on the Netherbow Port in Edinburgh in 1764. The building was converted in 1999 by Terry Farrell architects to form the Dean Gallery. The building houses the Penrose collections and a significant bequest from Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, including a number of items from his studio.

Thomas Hamilton was a significant architect of this period, originally from Glasgow although the vast majority of his work was in Edinburgh where he was based. Hamilton was one of the key architects of the Scottish Enlightenment, and his focus on a rational plan form and well executed detailing to the exterior is characteristic of his approach. His work on the Royal High School (see separate listing) and the Burns Monument (see separate listing) on Calton Hill are significant examples of his work. The focus of the Scottish Enlightenment on Edinburgh as the 'Athens of the North' is mirrored in Hamilton's use of Greek sources including the Doric Columns on the Royal High School, which are based on the Temple of Theseus overlooking Athens.

List description revised as part of resurvey (2009).



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan (1849 - 53); RCAHMS, RAB/74/54, engravings of the building, 1860; J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 386; 'Dean Gallery, Edinburgh', Architects Journal, 4 February 1999; (accessed 17/9/2008).

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.

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Printed: 30/03/2023 02:56