But, the need to expand these spaces to be able to accommodate the more than 60,000 works has become ever-more apparent in recent years.
A great deal of hard work has gone into the project to expand the National Gallery. Overcoming the multitude of challenges that were thrown up along the way is a real achievement.
Indeed, when the part of the building to be renovated was fully stripped back to its skeleton, undocumented asbestos, other new structural impediments and enormous concrete deposits required removal.
Furthermore, and as with all infrastructure projects in recent years, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed progress. However, the new fantastic renovation is now complete.
I would like to make a special commendation to gallery director-general Sir John Leighton, who will retire at the end of this year after 18 years in his role. He sums up why this project is necessary and worthwhile:
"It was important to have the best of Scottish art right here in the centre of the country, in the symbolic heart of the nation.”
The gallery tells “an outward-looking story so it's really important we do it here, in the National Gallery, right in the centre of the Capital," he says.