Scottish Academy started to acquire its collection in 1831 when
it decreed that all members, on reaching the status of Academician,
must deposit a Diploma Work. This should be a piece of work representative
of their output in the discipline of painting, sculpture or architecture.
Today the Diploma Collection contains 198 paintings, 36 sculpture and 48 architectural drawings or models by Academicians past and present.
Other facets of the RSA's art collections include : recent works
by recipients of RSA scholarships (e.g. John Kinross Scholarship,
Alastair Salvesen Trust); portraits of artists; copies of Old
Masters; twentieth century material bought through specific funds;
and mixed collections received through gifts and bequests. The
largest single bequest was that of William Gillies. Received in
1973, it contains over a thousand paintings and drawings by this
artist and many others by his friends and contemporaries.