Photograph at top 1994 by George P. Landow. Other views by the author, 2008/10.[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

The Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy, by William Henry Playfair (1790-1857). 1822-6; 1831-6. Princes Street, Edinburgh. Playfair not only enlarged the Academy in the 1830s, increasing its length to an impressive sixteen columns, but also "considerably enriched" it with the distyle porticos and wreathes, as well as the addition of the rooftop sphinxes. The seated Queen Victoria which crowns the Academy, robed "so as to give a general idea of Britannia" was by John Steell, and was added in 1840 (Gifford et al. 289).

A view from another angle in different light conditions (showing the Academy's sixteen columns, and the wreathes in the frieze)

Detail (showing the sphinxes, Steell's Queen Victoria, and the Scott monument in the background)

Related Material


Gifford, John, et. al. Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland series). London: Penguin, rev. ed. 1991.

Last modified 19 October 2010