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This building is in the Aberdeen Council and the Aberdeen Burgh. It is a category A building and was listed on 12/01/1967.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NJ 9388 6372.


Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, 1885 with 1905 sculpture court to Art Gallery and 1925 War Memorial and Cowdray Hall (see Notes). Outstanding, 2-storey block of Rennaissance-style buildings constructed in distinctive polished, grey granite ashlar with pink Correnie granite dressings and detailing linked by vehicular arch. Moulded base course; rock-faced rusticated course rising to cill-course; moulded blocking course; plain ashlar freize; moulded cornice. Architraved and corniced, astragalled fixed-pane windows run length of ground floor with decorative roundels above.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S (principal) ELEVATION: 14-bay Art Gallery and 7-bay former School of Art linked by semi-elliptical arch form a continous run facing Schoolhill. Art Gallery with full-height engaged Corinthian columns flanking round-arched entrance with 2-leaf timber door; columns flanked by channelled pilasters; dentiled pediment above. Former School of Art has similar entrance bay arrangement with further pair of Corinthian columns replacing channelled pilasters. Arch (leading to Robert Gordon¿s College ¿ see separate listing) with channelled pilasters, tripartite fixed-pane linking corridor above with scrolled and arched pediment and fine, ornamental cast-iron gates and gate-piers with crown-finialled lanterns.

SW CORNER ELEVATION: Grey granite ashlar with curved quadrant colonnade and wide entrance doors to Cowdray Hall at outer quadrant bays flanked by Corinthian pilasters; dentiled architrave; garland and swag details. Steps at central quadrant area surround plinth with lion sculpture by W McMillan. W (Blackfriars Street) ELEVATION: Grey and pink granite as above. Blind portico to centre with shallow Corinthian pilasters flanked by broad sections of full-height channelled rustication. Windows to outer bays flanked by channelled pilasters.

Predominantly fixed multi-pane windows. Grey slate. Multi-pitched roof with broad multi-pane rooflights to N, S, E and W. Large oval cupola to central sculpture court of Art Gallery; fluted copper dome to War Memorial. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: Art Gallery: fine central sculpture court with bifurcated stair of black and white marble. Distinctive colonnaded sculpture court with columns of different coloured granite. Above, balustraded balconey. 1959 James McBey Print Room linked to main gallery at NE re-entrant angle. War Memorial: octagonal court rising to balustraded circular balcony at first floor; giant, arched recesses rise to domed ceiling. Cowdray Hall: curving, stepped stage area with pneumatic pipe organ; colonnaded mezzanine to rear; oak panelled dado. Doric-columned basement level with geometric plasterwork ceiling. Decorative cast-iron balustrades to hallway stairs; predominantly original brass fixtures. Timber-boarded cloak room with drop-leaf counter. Former Gray¿s School of Art: balustraded, bifurcated staircase at main entrance hall.


Aberdeen¿s Art Gallery is widely considered to be one of the most successful examples of its type in Scotland. The use of pink and grey granite is unusual and this complex of buildings, by one of the city¿s most renowned architects adds significantly to the streetscape. According to Mackenzie¿s apprentice, Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth, a visit to Italy circa 1883 inspired the adoption of a two colour treatment, apparently in deference to the use of sandstone and brick dressings of Simpson's Triple Kirk opposite (of which only the spire and East Free Church sections survive). This colour contrast extended to the neo-Georgian villas he designed in the 1890s. The sculpture court at the Art Gallery was added by Mackenzie in 1905 using various types of granite mostly derived from local quarries including Rubislaw, Kemnay and Correnie. The principal gallery spaces have been restored following original designs by Mackenzie The War Memorial and Cowdray Hall (by Mackenzie and his son Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie) were outlined before World War I but not carried out, and with alteration to the original design, until 1923-5. Both buildings are currently only accessible via the Art Gallery. The War Memorial interior is a particularly fine example of Neo-Classical work of the period. The quadrant corner was originally intended as a setting for an Edward VII memorial statue but due to the late building date, it instead received a stylised lion sculpture by W McMillan.


Scottish Country Life 'Beautiful Aberdeen: the Cowdray Hall War Memorial and Union Terrace Gardens', (July 1928) pp209; Chapman and Riley, `The City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen ¿ Survey and Plan (1949) p.149; W A Brogden ¿ Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1986) p.29 Ranald MacInnes, Aberdeen, A guide (1992) p.156.

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).