AN EXHIBITION shaping up to be a spectacular 'Best of the Burrell' has opened at the famous Glasgow gallery.

Some of the most illustrious paintings held in the Burrell Collection are now on display together for the first time in its main temporary gallery space.

The exhibition covers all periods of the fine art collec-tion and features more than 40 important works by some of the most remarkable and internationally significant artists from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

Sir Angus Grossart, chair-man of Burrell Renaissance, the group charged with driving forward ambitious plans for the Burrell Collection, said: "Sir William was an out-standing collector, who was determined to bring together the best examples of works from across the centuries.

"His keen eye is wonderfully represented in this exhibition that reveals the outstanding quality of paintings stretching from the early Renaissance to his contemporaries, the impressionists.

"It is fitting that this exhib-ition will be the last major expression of Sir William's achievements before we look to close the gallery ahead of a major refurbishment and redisplay, and demonstrates once more why we are looking to liberate the untold story of the Burrell Collection as an international flagship for Glasgow and Scotland."

Well-known works on display include Bellini's emotional panel painting Virgin and Child, a selection of works by Degas, Rembrandt Self-portrait 1632 and Cezanne's Chateau du Medan.

Other less familiar works include Whistler's Nocturne: Grey and Gold Westminster Bridge and Portrait of a Gentleman from the studio of Frans Hals.

Councillor Archie Graham, the chairman of Glasgow City Council's arm's-length cultural wing Glasgow Life, said: "Glasgow is Scotland's cultural powerhouse and Sir William spent a lifetime amassing one of the world's finest single collections.

"For the first time, we have brought together more than 40 jewels from the fine art collection in a single space, allowing visitors to experience a wide range of periods, styles and techniques.

"Outstanding works by Bellini, Degas, Rembrandt, Whistler and Lavery, among others, will delight and inspire audiences of all ages."

The Burrell Collection consists of around 9000 objects donated to the City of Glasgow by Glaswegian ship owner Sir William, who died in 1958, and Lady Burrell, housed in a museum in Pollok Park.