RSA New Arrivals: Recent Acquisitions by the Royal Scottish Academy Collections

President’s Room and Friends’ Corridor, RSA Lower Galleries

Free entry by appointment only

Please call 0131 624 6556 or email


A changing exhibition featuring new acquisitions made by the collections of the Royal Scottish Academy over the past five years.


The past five years have been one of the most exciting in the Academy’s collecting history and this exhibition contains a selection from over 2,500 items collected. It contains new Diploma Works by Academicians, works by scholars and award winners, purchases and a selection from the Keith Rand Studio Gift of 2015. The exhibition also marks the next chapter of display for Richard Murphy RSA’s Wunderkammer cabinet, in its new permanent home in the Royal Scottish Academy President’s Room. In order to present as many new acquisitions as possible, the works in this exhibition will change over the course of the year.


As the oldest surviving collecting institution in Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy preserves a rich seam of artists and architects work from the early nineteenth century to the present day. The very first steps the Academy took in active collecting were in the realms of the contemporary. The works collected were of the moment, made by living artists and without the ascribed value of history. The Academy’s core Diploma Collection, of works selected by artists and architect members themselves, has maintained this virtue from when the first Diploma Works entered the collections in 1831 to the present day. Filtering out from the core Diploma Collection, other collections tied to the Academy’s support of artists through teaching, scholarships, awards and commissioning retain this identity and underline the uniqueness of the collections as a whole.


In recent years the Academy has rejuvenated its active collecting through the establishment of a dedicated acquisition fund, which is allowing the Academy to fill gaps in a strategic way not enjoyed since the mid-nineteenth century. A vital aspect of the Academy’s collecting portfolio, the importance of this fund is perhaps only eclipsed by the various gifts received, most notably those from artists and their estates in the form of studio gifts.