About the University of Edinburgh Art Collection

The University holds around 2,500 works of art. The Art Collection is now an amalgamation of the University of Edinburgh’s original art collection, which spans some 400 years of collecting, and the Edinburgh College of Art collection of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. The ECA collection tells a unique story of the artist output of the College, particularly in the early to mid-20th Century. Some of the most respected names in Scottish art appear, such as Samuel Peploe, John Bellany, Anne Redpath and Elizabeth Blackadder.

The Art Collection has as its centrepiece the Torrie Collection of 17th century Dutch and Italian Masters with works by Ruisdael, ten Oever, Van der Meulen, Pynacker, Rosa and Rvan de Velde. The University also holds the second largest collection of portraits in Scotland ranging from 17th century portraits of John Napier and John Knox to the recent dynamic painting of Peter Higgs by Ken Currie. Other portrait artists represented are Sir Henry Raeburn, Stanley Cursiter, Sir George Reid, James Cowie and Victoria Crowe.

A large percentage of the Art Collection is on display enhancing the public, staff and student spaces of the University. A number of works from the Torrie Collection are on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland. The principal areas of display include Edinburgh College of Art, Old College, Playfair Library, Raeburn Room, the University of Edinburgh Library, New College, McEwan Hall and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

As well as supporting research at all levels of the University, we believe that the uniqueness of our art collections lies in their innovative use. We seek to interpret and display collections in new and exciting ways, introducing contemporary insights and conversations to constantly reinvigorate debate. This involves working closely with Edinburgh College of Art and The Talbot Rice Gallery to ensure that collections are developed through contemporary collecting and also utilised by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists, academics and curators and presented to as wide an audience as possible.

Art Collections Online

We aim to represent all of the University Art Collection online through this resource. This is an ongoing process as the existing collection continues to be catalogued and photographed and also as new acquisitions are brought in. Images accompany records where there is an existing image file of sufficient quality and images will be added to existing records as part of wider cataloguing efforts. If there is a particular work that is of interest that does not have an accompanying image, please contact us directly on the details below.

University Collections

Special Collections include manuscripts and archives, rare books, photographs, printed and handwritten music, architectural drawings, theses and microfilms. The collections relate to University of Edinburgh and its history, and to Scotland and the wider world.

In total we have about 35 kilometres of historic material, much of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. collections.ed.ac.uk

Centre for Research Collections

Further information about the Centre for Research Collections.

BBC Your Paintings

University Collections on BBC Your Paintings
Edinburgh College of Art Collections on BBC Your Paintings

Contact Details

For further information about the University of Edinburgh Art Collections please contact:

Neil Lebeter
Art Collections Curator
University of Edinburgh,
Main Library,
30 George Square,
Edinburgh,
EH8 9LJ


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