Spotlight on... Scottish National Portrait Gallery

  • 14 March 2012

From tweeting pets to Louis Armstrong, the home of Scotland's national portrait collection tells us about itself.

Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery was the world's first portrait gallery built specially for the purpose, and a recent restoration has earned it a place on the longlist for this year's Art Fund Prize. We asked the gallery to tell us about itself, from tweeting pets to Louis Armstrong…


Age: We opened in 1889, making us 123 years old, but inside we feel a lot younger since our refurbishment.

Describe yourself in three words: Scotland’s family album.

What is your most treasured possession? Our wonderful building - not only do we have a spectacular red sandstone neo-Gothic design but it’s also covered in sculptures of poets and monarchs with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce guarding the entrance.

Your most famous visitor is? It’s almost too difficult to pick - looking back at all the portraits that have come through the doors, we’ve had Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Erin O’Connor, Louis Armstrong and Jane Birkin. And when we re-opened in 2011, John Byrne was our first visitor to step inside the building.

What is your best café creation? Our award-winning scones - back now and better than ever.

Any museum pets? Our pet is @ScotPortraitPup - you can find him in this painting.

One thing that would make you better is… if we were open 24 hours a so people could visit any time they like.

You have a museum crush on… It has to be V&A Dundee, and we’re counting down to finally meeting them in 2015.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Nothing, now that we’ve had a makeover.

You’re most happy when… we’re open, 10am - 5pm every day, Thursdays until 7pm.


Tell the judges why the Scottish National Portrait Gallery should win the Art Fund Prize 2012.

See the rest of the Art Fund Prize 2012 longlist.

Tags: What to seeMuseums and galleries