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Bigger Yins: Portraits of Billy Connolly on must-see mural trail

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As the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Glasgow Boys and the School of Art, it’s little wonder the city puts art and creativity right at the forefront.

Glasgow’s City Centre Mural Trail is a collection of 29 pieces of art on the sides of various buildings.

The first was painted in 2008 and the trail was established in 2014, with a guide map for visitors to explore and appreciate the work of local artists.

Jane Laiolo, from Glasgow City Council, says: “We set up the trail to promote some of the fantastic street art that’s developed over the last few years. We want to provide an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents across the city.”

Bobby McNamara, aka artist Rogue One, has painted or been involved in 10 murals on the trail – including two specially commissioned paintings of Billy Connolly.

“The general perception of all these murals is very positive. I haven’t had any bad comments,” Bobby says.

Here we take a look at the very best.

St Mungo

Located on Glasgow’s High Street near Strathclyde University, this piece by artist Sam Bates, or Smug, became a viral sensation.

The mural, finished in 2016, was shared 1.5 million times on social media within a week of being completed.

It depicts St Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, as he might look today with a robin – a reference to the bird that never flew, which tells of Mungo as a child rescuing a fallen robin, as seen in Glasgow’s Coat of Arms.

St Enoch and Child

Another of Smug’s works complements the presence of modern-day St Mungo on High St.

The mural of St Enoch and Child in George Street is a contemporary interpretation of the city’s founding story; St Enoch cradling her beloved St Mungo. The tenderness and detail shown epitomizes Smug’s style.

Dr Connolly, I Presume?

One of Rogue One’s two paintings of Billy Connolly. This piece is situated just off St Enoch Square, the site of the popular shopping centre.

The mural was commissioned by BBC Scotland as part of the TV show Billy Connolly: Portrait Of A Lifetime in 2017 and is a reproduction of a 1994 portrait near John O’Groats by Jack Vettriano.

The other mural of the Big Yin is based on John Byrne’s Billy Connolly, and can be seen Old Wynd, off Osborne Street.

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