Famous artists and Scottish art

A gallery space with white walls and wooden parquet floors. On the left a long wall stretches into the distance with four paintings and a text panel visible on it. Other paintings are visible on walls at the back of the space. In the middle is a glass-topped case, and a second is visible against the wall to the right.

Popular Scottish galleries

Scotland has a proud artistic history, and our biggest galleries are home to some of the world’s most iconic artworks and famed artists. They’re often free to enter, easily accessible, and open throughout the year. Here are a few of our favourites.

The Scottish National Gallery

The home of art in Edinburgh, with work by the likes of Botticelli, Rembrandt and Constable. You’ll also find masterpieces by Scottish artists including Ramsay and Raeburn, alongside arguably the most famous Scottish painting of all: The Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer.

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The Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery holds a wonderful collection of works that tell the story of Scotland through its people, including some famous Scottish faces from the past and present. Before you go inside, take a moment to admire the building itself, which is one of the biggest and most imposing in Edinburgh.

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Another beautiful building that we’d call a work of art, this popular Glasgow attraction has a varied collection, and natural history exhibits rub shoulders with art from different periods, including work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Van Gogh. Great for families!

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Aberdeen Art Gallery

An award-winning gallery with a collection that spans more than 700 years. You’ll find work by classical Scottish artists and designers alongside famous contemporary names like Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon and Tracey Emin. A must-see for anyone visiting the Granite City.

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E A Hornel's artwork on display in Broughton House Studio

Art in its natural habitat

Unlike museums, the National Trust for Scotland keeps its art collections in their original locations. At many of our properties you can see work by famous artists in the places where they were created, or where they were kept for generations.

Like seeing your favourite animal in the wild, there’s nothing like seeing a painting in its natural habitat. So where can you go to see wonderful art in its original setting?

Broughton House & Garden

It’s not often you get to see fine art in the place where it was made. Broughton House gives visitors the rare opportunity to see the work of one of Scotland’s most innovative and successful artists, Edward Atkinson Hornel, in the place where he lived and worked from 1901 to 1933.

Hornel was one of the famous Glasgow Boys group and made his name painting vivid scenes using unique brushwork, of landscapes, flowers and children from either his rural Galloway surroundings or while on his travels across Japan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. In rooms like the sumptuous Gallery (one of the finest rooms in any of our places) you’ll find a collection of inspiring work displayed much as it would have been in Hornel’s time, and step into the studio he had built onto the house, designed to be an artist’s perfect workspace.

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The Gallery at Broughton House. Gilt-framed paintings line the wooden panelled walls. A piano and table and chairs stand on the large rugs. The ceiling is made up of lots of sky lights, making the room feel suffused with light. An elaborate marble fireplace stands at the far end, and a classical plaster frieze runs around the top of the walls.

Discover more art in Glasgow and the South West:

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – find portraits by Alexander Nasmyth and Archibald Stirling, as well as pastoral paintings of Brig o’ Doon and the Burns Monument.

Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park – see family portraits, landscapes and racing scenes as part of an extensive collection at this castle on the Isle of Arran.

Fyvie Castle, Garden & Estate

One of the finest art collections in the Trust’s care is housed in this imposing and atmospheric fortress, where paintings by Gainsborough, Romney, Lawrence and many others are situated amongst historic artefacts and lavish Edwardian interiors.

Fyvie Castle also boasts one of the largest collections of work by Sir Henry Raeburn in the world. Raeburn is one of Scotland’s most famous artists and was the leading Scottish portrait painter of his time. Here you’ll find 13 of his paintings, including depictions of notable figures like Dr George Bell, Mrs James Gregory, and Sir General William Maxwell.

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An organ, art and furniture adorn the exquisite Gallery of Fyvie Castle

Discover more art in Aberdeenshire:

Drum Castle, Garden & Estate – along with the permanent collection, you can enjoy a programme of contemporary exhibitions in the gallery space.

Craigievar Castle – artificial light is off limits here, meaning there’s a unique opportunity to see work by Raeburn and others in the shifting sunlight, just as they would have been viewed originally.

Brodie Castle & Estate

The major art collection at Brodie Castle is broad in scope and covers a vast period of history. Here you can see 17th-century Dutch art, 19th-century English watercolours and work from 20th-century Scottish colourists all under the same roof, and in many ways it feels more like visiting a modern gallery than a historic castle.

One particular painting, A Philosopher and his Pupils by Willem Van Der Vliet, has ‘rock star’ status. After a tour of National Galleries, where it was part of an exhibition celebrating the impact of Caravaggio, it returned to its home at Brodie Castle to sit alongside the other Dutch masters – come and see it in its proper place!

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Portrait of David Petty in Brodie Castle library

Discover more art in the North and the Highlands:

Inverewe Garden – visit the Sawyer Gallery, a home for contemporary art that celebrates the garden and the wider landscapes of Wester Ross.

The Georgian House

Looking for something a bit different to the busy city centre galleries? At the Georgian House in Edinburgh’s New Town you can step back in time to see paintings by Ramsay, Raeburn and Nasmyth in a perfectly restored late-18th-century house.

Admiring these wonderful paintings by the most popular Scottish artists of their day will give you a unique view into what it would have been like to mingle with the wealthiest members of Scottish Georgian society. No doubt it’ll also inspire you to think about the great Scottish art you’d like to have in your collection!

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Discover more art near Edinburgh:

Hill of Tarvit Mansion & Garden – head to Fife to explore the excellent Sharp Collection, which reflects the Sharp family’s love of ‘beautiful things’ and includes a number of Dutch paintings of ‘kolf’, an early version of golf played on ice.

Kellie Castle – rescued and restored in the late 19th century by the Lorimers, a famous artistic family, the castle itself is an artistic journey. Head to the stables to see work by sculptor Hew Lorimer.

Fyvie Painting finishing touches

Want to know more about famous Scottish artists and where to find them? Read more here.

Visit our shop to find gifts and art inspired by our places.

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