Was very interested to note from today’s ‘Scotsman’ that the National Portrait Gallery in
Queen Street will be reopening after extensive refurbishment on the 1st. of December next. The refurbishment work has been extensive and many portraits not previously in the public domain will now be on show.
Members will of course recall our guided tour of the gallery shortly before it shut - it hardly seems three years ago now and a return visit must now be very high on the agenda.
According to the ‘Scotsman’ article the oldest item in the gallery is a portrait of Lord Darnley of 1755 by Hans Ewart.
Also on show is of course is what is known as ‘The Sheffield Portrait’ of Mary (above) probably by Rowland Lockey. The portrait was previously thought to have been based on one currently in Hardwick Hall painted during Mary’s lifetime and this may or may not be the case. The date 1578 appears and as Helen Smailes puts it in her book “The Queen’s Image” “the significance of the date is not clear but may represent an aspect of James’ policy of rehabilitating his mother’s reputation”.
Also in the exhibition is a rare woodcut which is believed to be the only image made of John Knox during his lifetime.
I think I am also correct in saying that on the façade of the building, remains a range of statues including the only one in Scotland of Mary. As a Society we presently have in hand a project for the erection of a full size statue to Mary, we hope very much at or in the precinct of Holyrood House.