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Glasgow’s Burrell Collection to finally reopen to visitors in March 2022

© Glasgow LifeThe Burrell Collection
The Burrell Collection

The Burrell Collection will reopen to visitors in March 2022 following the completion of refurbishment work, Glasgow Life has announced.

Construction work on the £68.25 million revamp has been finished, with the installation of exhibits now underway ahead of welcoming the public into the building once again.

The attraction, in the city’s Pollok Country Park, has been closed since 2016.

It had been due to reopen in 2020, but the date was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s new

As part of the work, a new entrance and central stairway have been created to help people explore all three floors of the building for the first time.

The outdoor green space at the venue has also undergone a transformation, linking it to its surroundings in Pollok Country Park.

The Burrell Collection Exterior
The Burrell Collection exterior

Repairs have been made to the roof, and modern glazing installed to help reduce its energy consumption.

On reopening, the museum’s gallery space will have increased by 35%, allowing for more objects from the collection to be put on show, some for the first time.

New displays will give visitors a better understanding of the artworks, the people who made them and some of the people who have owned them.

The Arabesque Carpet being installed
The Arabesque Carpet being installed

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

“This major refurbishment and redisplay will celebrate Sir William’s 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.”

Local input

Since The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, a comprehensive consultation programme has engaged with more than 15,000 local people.

It sought ideas, insights and opinions which Glasgow Life say have shaped every aspect of the redesign of the building, access to it and the development of the new displays, galleries and spaces within and around the museum.

Warwick Vase being cleaned
Warwick Vase being cleaned

Chief executive of Glasgow Life, Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, said: “March 2022 will mark a historic milestone in Glasgow’s story, as the completely refurbished Burrell Collection reopens to the world.

“Very soon, thanks to all the project’s funders, 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.”

A worldwide collection

Sir William Burrell devoted more than 75 years of his life to amassing one of the world’s greatest single personal collections, renowned for its quality of Chinese art, exquisite stained glass, intricate tapestries and breadth of fine art.

The gift of the collection to the city was described at the time as “one of the greatest gifts ever made to any city in the world” by Sir Hector Hetherington, Principal of Glasgow University.

Highlights include Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over a 5,000-year period, making it one of the most significant collections of Chinese Art in Europe.

There are also paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas, as well as medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour.

From Marseille to Melbourne: Burrell Collection’s displaced artworks shine in galleries around the globe

The collection includes over 200 tapestries and carpets, which are among the finest in the world.

It is home to the Wagner Garden carpet which is one of the three earliest surviving Persian garden carpets in the world, and has rarely been on public display.

The refurbishment and redisplay means it will be on permanent display accompanied by new and innovative methods of interpretation.

Sir Angus Grossart, Chair of Burrell Renaissance, said: “The Burrell Collection has a reputation as being one of the finest in the world. The wonderful new displays have enhanced and informed what visitors will see.

“They will find great cultural diversity, much beauty and wonder and the great achievement of one enquiring and questioning mind, that of Sir William Burrell.”