In 1944, Glaswegian ship owner Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance, Lady Burrell, left their outstanding collection of more than 6,000 objects to the City of Glasgow, passing ownership to its citizens for their enjoyment. By the time of Burrell’s death in 1958, it had grown to 9,000 objects, ranging from Neolithic Chinese pottery to works by Degas.
Sir William also left a sum of money for the construction of a building to house this gift. In 1983, the Collection’s stunning new home, designed by Barry Gasson, John Meunier and Brit Andresen, opened to the public, welcoming millions of visitors. The opening of the Collection signalled a cultural rebirth for the city, no longer seen as a gritty, hard, industrial city, but now a city of culture, of beauty, of heritage, hosting major events ranging from the Turner Prize to the Commonwealth Games.
The years took their toll on the fabric of the building, and at the end of 2016, the Burrell Collection closed for major refurbishment and redisplay. Now, after a closure of just over five years, there seems no more appropriate a time to reaffirm the importance of art and culture, philanthropy, beauty and heritage in determining and shaping the future health, wealth and wellbeing of our communities and our planet.
In this book the authors examine the role of such publicly funded buildings in our local communities as essential spaces, rather than luxuries, enabling creativity and collaboration, fostering debate and learning; the Burrell Collection’s place on the global museums stage; and the architectural significance of the building both when it was built and now. The essays are complemented by a selection of the Collection’s treasures.
- Authors: Dr Bridget McConnell, Duncan Dornan, John McAslan
- Hardback, £25.00, 192pp
- ISBN: 978-1-908638-39-7