Avid collector died saddled with debts

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Archibald McLellan, founder of the McLellan Galleries, was born in Glasgow in 1795.

After attending Glasgow College, he became a partner in his father’s prosperous coaching business.

McLellan, pictured below, became a magistrator and “bailie” of Glasgow’s Town Council and worked to found an Institute of Fine Arts in the city.

He never married, but left two illegitimate children before his death in 1854, heavily in debt. In his will, he described how “I have, for 30 years spent much of my spare time making a collection of pictures, illustrative of the characteristics and progress of the various schools of painting in Italy, German, Spain, the Low Countries and France”.

He left 437 pictures, including 120 Italian works. Some were sold, but 73 appear in a new catalogue by Professor Peter Humfrey, of St Andrews University.