Museum & Galleries

The Burrell Collection

Scotland / Europe

The Burrell Collection is a world famous art collection of over 8,000 objects, bequeathed to the city of Glasgow in 1944 by Sir William Burrell (1861-1958), a shipping magnate. The bequest had a troubled history for over 30 years as he stipulated that the collection must be housed 16 miles from the centre of the city, in order to avoid damage from air pollution. After the Smoke Abatement Act the Trustees obtained permission that three miles was far enough. A home was eventually created in a specially built, modernistic L-shaped building in Pollok Country Park, designed by Barry Gasson in collaboration with Brit Andresen. Romanesque doorways were built into the structure. The entrance is a 16th century stone archway, built into a modern red sandstone gable, and three rooms from Hutton Castle, Burrell’s home near Berwick-on-Tweed, Hutton Castle, have been reconstructed here. The Queen opened the museum in October 1983. It is recognised as one of the finest examples of 1970s architecture in the United Kingdom. The collection is so extensive that there is not space to display all of it, and some of its medieval pieces are displayed within Provand’s Lordship, the oldest house in the city, which is located in Castle Street. The collection includes medieval art, stained glass, and tapestries, together with weapons from ancient civilisations. There are exhibits from the late medieval and early Renaissance period in Europe, and fine examples of Chinese and Islamic Art, and French paintings. There are also Rodin sculptures (including a version of Le Penseur), and pictures by Degas and Cézanne.

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