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Ages of Wonder - Scotland's Art 1540 to now - Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh


Ages of Wonder is a new exhibition at Scottish National Gallery which explores almost 500 years of Scottish art, as collected by the Royal Scottish Academy.

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) have collaborated to organise a major new exhibition, which opens in Edinburgh this autumn. Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now will be the largest exhibition of the RSA’s hugely significant collection ever mounted and the first to occupy the entire RSA building.

Ages of Wonder will, for the first time in over 100 years, reunite these paintings and sculptures with the RSA collection, bringing together a selection of over 450 works by more than 270 artists and architects that will highlight the significant part played by RSA in Scottish cultural life over the past two centuries. Around 60 works from NGS will feature in the exhibition.

Five centuries of art

The artworks on show will cover a period of nearly five centuries, from 1540 until the present day - from the The Adoration of the Kings by Jacopo Bassano (c.1510–1592) right through to Callum Innes’s Exposed Painting Lamp Black, submitted as the artist’s Diploma Work in 2015 after his election as an Academician, and a number of new commissions.

Among the exhibition’s highlights will be a spectacular recreation of a Victorian gallery hang, which in RSA Gallery 3 will see over 90 works hung as they would have been in the 19th century, from dado rail to ceiling.

Themed rooms

One room will focus on Sir James Guthrie (1859-1930) and the 1910 transfer, featuring major works from both the RSA and NGS, by Guthrie and other artists such as William Dyce (1806-64) and Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901), and a specially commissioned sculpture of Guthrie by Kenny Hunter (b.1962). There will also be a room of outstanding portraits of RSA Presidents and artists, showcasing key works by David Allan (1744-96), Elizabeth Blackadder (b.1934) and Alberto Morrocco (1917-98).

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The NGS and the RSA have a shared history and together we occupy a central place in the past, present and future of the arts in Scotland. We now work very closely together and we are delighted to have partnered with the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) to help deliver what is set to be a historic show. Visitors to the exhibition can soon enjoy some exceptional works by artists both past and present, with items from the national collection complementing the rich and important holdings of the RSA.”

Ages of Wonder is at the Scottish National Gallery from 2 November 2017 to 7 January 2018.

The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL; tel: 0131 624 6200; website. #AgesOfWonder


Anne Redpath RA RSA (1895-1965)
In the Church of St Jean, Treboul, oil on board, 86.3 x 111.6, c.1953-54
Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture (Diploma Collection), RSA Diploma Deposit, 1956 © RSA.
Image credit: Andy Phillipson

Jacopo BASSANO (ca. 1510–1592)
The Adoration of the Kings, early 1540s
Oil on canvas, 183 x 235. cm
Collection: National Galleries of Scotland
Purchased by the Royal Scottish Academy 1856; transferred to the National Gallery of Scotland 1910
Photo: Antonia Reeve

Scottish School
The Interior of the National Gallery of Scotland, c 1867 - 1877
Oil on canvas, 50.5 x 61 cm
Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, purchased 1967

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