Burrell Collection to close for 4-year revamp

THE world famous Burrell Collection will be closed for four years as it undergoes a major revamp.

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  • The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof
    The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof
  • The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof
  • The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof
  • The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof
  • The building which houses the artefacts has been found to be unfit for purpose, especially the roof

The museum, in Glasgow's Pollok Park, could be shut from 2016 to 2020.

And, in a move which could help raise cash to pay for the work, Glasgow City Council is launching a legal action to change the bequest of Sir William Burrell, who banned his collection from being loaned overseas.

With the full backing of the collection's Trustees, proposals are to be put forward in a Private Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament to lift the restriction.

The tour would boost the city and collection's reputat-ions and raise money for the extensive redevelopment of the 30-year-old building.

Papers detailing these proposals were being published today and will be considered by the city council next week. The Bill is expected in spring with, it's understood, Scottish Government support.

The city council is currently assessing the state of the building but already there is a view it is 'not fit for purpose' and needs a major overhaul, especially its roof.

In 1997, the city council won a battle to allow the treasures to tour but it still requires a parliamentary bill to change the bequest and the full support of the Trustees to be carried out.

Now, after years of negotiations, the Trustees, led by Sir Peter Hutchison, the city council and Glasgow Life, which runs Glasgow's museums and galleries, are determined to settle the business.

Sir Angus Grossart, a Glasgow Life board member and leading banker, will be chairman of the new Burrell Renaissance Council, which will oversee the refurbish-ment and overseas tour.

Sir Peter Hutchison said: "The Trustees welcome the forthcoming refurbishment, which will transform the Burrell building and provide a fitting context for this world-class collection.

"New gallery space will be created, a wider range of objects displayed, facilities upgraded and any structural defects, such as the roof, remedied.

"The Trustees also support the application to the Scottish Parliament to enable a major tour during the period of closure which would not only assist with fundraising, but would also raise the Burrell's profile and demonstrate the extra-ordinary range and quality of Sir William's unique legacy."

When shipping magnate Sir William died in 1958 aged 96 – aware of how dangerous it was to ship works abroad – he stipulated no works should be loaned overseas.

Now, however, the organisations involved believe things are different, with all international loans transported by air.

The collection, which opened in 1983, has been compared in quality to those held by the V&A and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, especially its Chinese, early Renaissance, French, Islamic, Egyptian art and Greek and Roman antiquities.

Touring the collection will widen access to it, improve international partnerships with other galleries, and open it up to international research.

The bequest has been changed before when the Trustees varied the condition to require the Collection to be housed more than 16 miles from the city centre. They agreed to allow it to be at Pollok Park because pollution was no longer considered an issue.

Councillor Archie Graham, city council deputy leader and chairman of Glasgow Life, said: "Sir William Burrell's gift to the people of Glasgow cannot be underestimated and we are now working to find a way to make this international touring exhibition happen.

"I am determined that any work we progress will be mindful of his wishes and help to secure much wider recognition for his vision and achievements as we look toward protecting the Collection's home for decades to come."

Sir Angus said: "The Burrell now needs a real renaissance which will place the true significance of the collections within the major international league where it should be set."

The Trustees of the Burrell Collection are Sir Peter Hutchison, Frances Fowle, Lady Cindy Shaw Stewart, Peter Wordie and David McLelan.

THE world famous Burrell Collection will be closed for four years as it undergoes a major revamp.

The museum, in Glasgow's Pollok Park, could be shut from 2016 to 2020.

And, in a move which could help raise cash to pay for the work, Glasgow City Council is launching a legal action to change the bequest of Sir William Burrell, who banned his collection from being loaned overseas.

With the full backing of the collection's Trustees, proposals are to be put forward in a Private Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament to lift the restriction.

The tour would boost the city and collection's reputat-ions and raise money for the extensive redevelopment of the 30-year-old building.

Papers detailing these proposals were being published today and will be considered by the city council next week. The Bill is expected in spring with, it's understood, Scottish Government support.

The city council is currently assessing the state of the building but already there is a view it is 'not fit for purpose' and needs a major overhaul, especially its roof.

In 1997, the city council won a battle to allow the Collection's treasures to tour but it still requires a parliamentary bill to change the bequest and the full support of the Trustees to be carried out.

Now, after years of negotiations, the Trustees, led by Sir Peter Hutchison, the city council and Glasgow Life, which runs Glasgow's museums and galleries, are determined to settle the business.

Sir Angus Grossart, a Glasgow Life board member and leading banker, will be chairman of the new Burrell Renaissance Council, which will oversee the refurbish-ment and overseas tour.

Sir Peter Hutchison said: "The Trustees welcome the forthcoming refurbishment, which will transform the Burrell building and provide a fitting context for this world-class collection.

"New gallery space will be created, a wider range of objects displayed, facilities upgraded, and any structural defects, such as the roof, remedied.

"The Trustees also support the application to the Scottish Parliament to enable a major tour during the period of closure which would not only assist with fundraising, but would also raise the Burrell's profile and demonstrate the extraordinary range and quality of Sir William's unique legacy."

When shipping magnate Sir William died in 1958 aged 96 – aware of how dangerous it was to ship works abroad – he stipulated no works should be loaned overseas.

Now, however, the organisations involved believe things are different, with all international loans transported by air.

The collection, which opened in 1983, has been compared in quality to those held by the V&A and the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

Touring the collection will widen access to it, improve international partnerships with other galleries, and open it up to international research.

The bequest has been changed before when the Trustees varied the condition to require the Collection to be housed more than 16 miles from the city centre.

They agreed to allow it to be housed at Pollok Park because pollution was no longer considered an issue.

Councillor Archie Graham, city council deputy leader and chairman of Glasgow Life, said: "Sir William Burrell's gift to the people of Glasgow cannot be underestimated and we are now working to find a way to make this international touring exhibition happen.

"Sir William entrusted his life's work to the city he called home.

"I am determined that any work we progress will be mindful of his wishes and help to secure much wider recognition for his vision and achievements as we look toward protecting the Collection's home for decades to come."

Sir Angus said: "The Burrell now needs a real renaissance which will place the true significance of the collections within the major international league where it should be set."

The Trustees of the Burrell Collection are Sir Peter Hutchison, Frances Fowle, Lady Cindy Shaw Stewart, Peter Wordie and David McLelan.

Gift won him freedom of city

Glaswegian William, the third son of William Isabella Burrell, worked from aged 15 with his brother to build the family shipping agency.

He dealt with the commercial aspects of the business, combining this with collecting art.

He was elected as a member of Glasgow Corporation in the early 1900's.

In the 20s and 30s he began to determine what to do with the collection.

Edinburgh and London were considered, but only Glasgow would agree to conditions summarised in his 1944 Deed of Gift to Glasgow.

He was awarded the freedom of the city in 1944 following the donation of his collection.

The decision to gift the collection to his home city is the largest single gift of art treasures by one man to one city.

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