New look revealed for Glasgow’s Burrell Collection as reopening plans are confirmed

Images have revealed how Glasgow's celebrated Burrell Collection gallery will look after a £68.2 million revamp – as a reopening was finally confirmed five years after the venue closed to the public.

An Arabesque carpet being installed at the new-look Burrell Collection.

A long-planned project to safeguard and overhaul the 38-year-old building in Pollok Country Park will be unveiled in March – around two years later than planned.

Museums chiefs in Glasgow said the £68.25m overhaul of the attraction, which will showcase medieval, Islamic, Chinese, Egyptian and French Impressionist art treasures, would help the city retain its place as a “global cultural leader”.

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The project will increase the amount of available space by more than a third to showcase the thousands of works collected by the Glasgow shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, who donated them to the city in 1944.

A Warwick Vase being cleaned at the new-look Burrell Collection.

Installation of the works of art from the 9,000-piece collection has recently begun in the new-look building, which will have a new central stairway aimed at improving access to all three floors of the attraction.

The project will allow some objects from the collection to go on display for the first time ever, while others will not have been seen for decades, in exhibition galleries which will offer greater insight into how each work of art was made and who it was owned by before being acquired by Sir William.

Highlights of the displays will include one of the most significant collections of Chinese art in Europe, paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas, and medieval treasures, including stained glass, arms and armour and more than 200 tapestries and carpets.

The project has also seen new landscaped terraces created outside the gallery building to provide better links between the attraction and the popular park.

The new-look Burrell Collection is expected to reopen to the public in March.

Dr Bridget McConnell, the chief executive of Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s publicly-owned museums and galleries, said: “March will mark a historic milestone in Glasgow’s story, as the completely refurbished Burrell Collection reopens to the world.

"These wonderful works of art, which Sir William Burrell gave to the people of Glasgow, will be enjoyed in a modern, green museum, fit for purpose and for the future.

“Our vision for the Burrell Collection demonstrates the city’s ambition for it to become more widely appreciated and well known around the world and for Glasgow to retain its place as a global cultural leader.”

David McDonald, depute leader of the city council, said: “It’s wonderful to see that the installation of Sir William’s precious, beautiful and intriguing collection has begun, now that the delicate refurbishment of its home is almost at an end.

Building work at the Burrell Collection has been ongoing since 2018.

“This major refurbishment and redisplay will celebrate his outstanding gift to the city and ensures it is at the heart of Glasgow’s cultural identity for the future, and having much more of the collection on display and accessible will be one of its immediate successes.

“Sir William’s incredible legacy will help Glasgow and Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19, bringing increased pride and confidence, which has a tangible effect on our wellbeing. As we move out of a pandemic, that is vital."

The Burrell Collection's new central stairway.
One of the new gallery spaces at the Burrell Collection.
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