September 2020: Two Galleries and a Georgian House

That’s what I managed to clock up over just two days in September, albeit two days that were separated by a weekend.

Scottish National Gallery (Friday 11-Sep)

The Scottish National Gallery is situated on one of Edinburgh’s most spectacular streets, the Mound. It consists of two similar-looking buildings: the Royal Scottish Academy Building is at the intersection of Princes Street and the Mound, and directly south of that is the National Gallery Building. Both buildings date from the 19th century, although the RSA is a few decades older than its neighbour. Both are neoclassical in style and were designed by Edinburgh architect William Henry Playfair. In order to comply with Covid-19 regulations, only the main ground-floor rooms of the south building were available during my visit. A major project is currently underway to construct a new suite of exhibition spaces facing onto Princes Street Gardens. The revised completion date currently stands at late-2022.

The Georgian House (Monday 14-Sep)

The Georgian House is a National Trust for Scotland property situated in Charlotte Square, reckoned to be the finest square in Edinburgh’s New Town. The entire north side of the square is cleverly designed to resemble the frontage of a large royal palace or country house, whereas in fact it has always been a collection of separate addresses. The central part, Bute House, is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland and The Georgian House is next door at No 7. The National Trust for Scotland has carried out a beautiful restoration to illustrate the house in its heyday, when it was used not only as living quarters, but to entertain and impress guests.

Modern One (Monday 14-Sep)

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art consists of two buildings, each set in its own grounds on opposite sides of Belford Road, just west of Edinburgh city centre. Modern One (the former John Watson’s School) lies on the west side of the road, while Modern Two (the former Dean Orphan Hospital) is on the east side. Modern Two was closed on the day of my visit, to permit installation of a major visiting exhibit, but I was happy to see parts of the permanent collection on display in Modern One.

Footnote (no pun intended)

My walking times to these three attractions were 7, 16 and 17 minutes, not necessarily in that order – I love city life! Total cost as an NTS member: £0.00.