Burrell Collection to reopen after £68m upgrade

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow is to reopen in March 2022 following a major building upgrade and redisplay, the charity Glasgow Life has confirmed.

As Kier Construction Scotland finishes work on the refurbishment of the A-listed building — based on designs from architects John McAslan + Partners — installation of the works of art has now begun.

Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25 million project was committed by Glasgow City Council with contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Scottish Government, the UK Government and from many trusts and private donors.

The first opening of The Burrell in 1983 was one of the strongest demonstrations of Glasgow’s commitment to cultural-led regeneration.

The upgrade began in 2018 with repairs to the roof and the installation of modern glazing to makethe building more air-tight, reducing its overall energy consumption.

A new entrance will bring visitors straight into the heart of the building and a newly created central stair will encourage people to explore all three floors of the reimagined Burrell Collection for the first time.

The outdoor green space has been also been enhanced, creating new links between the museum and its setting in Pollok Country Park.

On reopening, the museum’s gallery space will have increased by 35%, allowing important and unique objects from The Burrell Collection, which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display, to go on show.

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.

Collection 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; paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cézanne and Degas; Medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour and over 200 tapestries and carpets, which are among the finest in the world.

The Collection is also 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 since the Burrell Collection opened, but the refurbishment and redisplay means it will be on permanent display accompanied by new and innovative methods of interpretation.

“The Burrell Collection has a reputation as being one of the finest in the world,”said Angus Grossart, chair of Burrell Renaissance.

“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.”

Glasgow Life chair councillor David McDonald said: “It’s wonderful to see that the installation of Sir William’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.”