How Glasgow Flourished 1714 to 1837 tells how the city grew into a dynamic centre of global significance through business, commerce, and brilliance.
One of the most influential businessmen of the period was John Glassford who was regarded as the greatest tobacco lord of the era.
Direct descendants from both sides of his family have donated and loaned personal items which belonged to the merchant for display in the new exhibition in Kelvingrove.
They include a painting of his second wife Anne Nisbet and two large 18th century sphinx which are thought to come from Glassford's Shawfield Mansion.
Fiona Camp, who is one of his relatives, said: "My family has long treasured the Glassford painting. Not only is it beautiful to look at but it tells of my family history and helps me understand who I am.
"Looking around the fabulous exhibition it is clear to see the city has a wonderfully diverse and extremely important collection of works.
"It is fitting to see this lovely painting in such a grand setting.
"Many generations of my family have enjoyed looking at it and I hope many more people will take pleasure in viewing it at this exhibition and understanding a little more about the history of the city."
Visitors to How Glasgow Flourished will learn how the workers in city factories saw weavers' cottages being transformed into cotton mills and green field into some of the largest and most advanced dying and smelting factories in the world.
Glasgow Life chairman Archie Graham said: "The Georgian period was one of great excitement and growth in Glasgow.
"It represents a time when the city rose to real prominence on a global scale.
"It was a time in history when people began to take real pride in their homes, to demand a fairer way of living, to take an interest in celebrity culture and that makes it a wonderful period to explore.
"Only by looking back can we understand where we are today and forge ahead with the future."
How Glasgow Flourished, which displays more than 230 objects spanning art to textiles, history and technology, will run until August 17 and is free to enter.