Burrell treasures to go on display in London

TREASURES from a major Scottish museum are to go on show south of the border in a “prelude” to the first international tour of work from the collection.

A tapestry woven in the Southern Netherlands around 1500 is part of the collection. Picture: PA

Burrell At Bonhams, a “selection of treasures” from Glasgow, will be at Bonhams New Bond Street in London from December 15 until January 9.

Among the 45 “star objects” selected for the show are the bed-head of King Henry VIII and Princess Anne of Cleves, Chateau Of Medan by Cezanne, a painting once owned by Gauguin, and Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn (1632).

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Earlier this year MSPs passed legislation allowing artwork from the Burrell Collection to be shown overseas for the first time.

Sir William Burrell Picture: PA

Shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, who died in 1958, left his collection of artwork and historical artefacts to the city of Glasgow on the condition that they were not loaned overseas, apparently fearing the items might be damaged in transit.

The new legislation, passed in January, gives Glasgow City Council the power to lend out the artworks overseas, which it hopes will raise funds while the building is closed for refurbishment.

Sir Angus Grossart, chair of Burrell Renaissance and board member of Glasgow Life, which manages the Burrell Collection, said: “The time has come to liberate the full potential of Sir William Burrell’s extraordinary collection and see it achieve its rightful place on the international stage.

“This exhibition is a prelude to an international tour, which will, for the first time, see objects loaned to major institutions around the world.

“Bonhams, with its strong expertise in fine art and antiques, is a fitting partner to enable us to illustrate the quality which the Burrell holds and to tell the wonderful story of Sir William’s life-long passion and expertise in amassing one of the finest personal collections in the world.”

Work from the Burrell has previously been displayed elsewhere in the UK, with the last major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1975.

The Burrell Collection, opened in 1983, is expected to close in 2016 for refurbishment and redisplay, which will take around four years.

Sir William acquired more than 9,000 objects over 75 years, with Chinese art the largest single area of his collection.

Other highlights are the Late Gothic and Early Renaissance works of art from Northern Europe, including tapestries, stained glass, sculpture and furniture.

Sir William also amassed a fine collection of French art, as well as Dutch paintings, British portraits, Islamic art, Persian, Caucasian and Indian rugs and carpets, and Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities.

Archie Graham, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The city is currently considering ambitious plans for a full refurbishment and redisplay of the museum housing Sir William’s extraordinary gift.

“While that work is ongoing, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to share these great treasures with the world.

“It is absolutely fitting that the first stop is Bonhams, given that Sir William spent so much of his early years as a collector in some of the world’s finest auction houses.”

Colin Sheaf, chairman of Bonhams UK board, said Bonhams is “thrilled” to be showing the work.