Gifts and bequests of artworks, archival material, books and publications to the Royal Scottish Academy develop and strengthen the living archive that is the RSA collections. The source of gifts and bequests are predominantly RSA Academicians and private individuals but in 2011 a major bequest from the Scottish Arts Council collection by Creative Scotland reveals institutional channels.

By gifting or bequeathing material, donors recognise the national significance and history of the RSA’s unique collection and by accepting the gift the RSA commits to care for and make it accessible in perpetuity. The importance of gifts and bequests to the collections cannot be overestimated as they enhance opportunities for exhibition, scholarship and access.

Major gifts and bequests from the studios of RSA Academicians, such as the William Gillies bequest of 1973, the James Cumming gift of 2006 and the William Littlejohn bequest of 2006, have led to major exhibitions, funded the creation of new awards, and improved the understanding of these important Scottish artists. They have also provided an important blueprint for future bequests and legacies.

Gifts and bequests have also been made from the archives of artists such as Henry Snell Gamley (2006) and Fred Bushe (2010). Elizabeth Blackadder gifted a portfolio of her spectacular orchid etchings to commemorate Academy events, in this case the Presidency of her friend and contemporary Ian McKenzie Smith PPRSA. Recently a gift from the AHRC funded project Poetry Beyond Text, of works by Marion Smith RSA with Deryn Rees-Jones and Marian Leven RSA with Robin Robertson has taken the collections in an exciting new direction. These gifts and bequests not only form important legacies within the collections but develop them in ways that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

Please contact us if you are interested in gifting or bequeathing work to the RSA.

Colin Greenslade, Director


T: 0131 624 6110