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Burrell Collection to reopen on March 29 after £68m refurbishment

The collection was amassed by shipping magnate Sir William Burrell and was donated to the city of Glasgow in 1944.

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The Burrell Collection reopens next month (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Burrell Collection reopens next month (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Burrell Collection reopens next month (Jane Barlow/PA)

A museum home to one of “the finest personal art collections ever amassed” will reopen on March 29 following a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow’s Pollok Park has undergone a major upgrade since it closed to the public in October 2016 and is now described as a modern, greener museum that will show more of the collection to visitors.

It was amassed by Sir William Burrell and donated to Glasgow by the shipping magnate and his wife in 1944.

The £68.25 million project has increased the museum’s gallery space by 35%, allowing it to show items which have not been seen for decades, or have never been on permanent display.

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The museum has been shut since October 2016 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The museum has been shut since October 2016 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The museum has been shut since October 2016 (Jane Barlow/PA)

These include the Wagner garden carpet, one of the earliest surviving Persian garden carpets in the world, which has rarely been on public display since the Burrell Collection first opened in 1983 but will now be on show permanently.

David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, the charity which operates the Burrell Collection, said: “The Burrell Collection is one of Glasgow’s greatest treasures which deserves much greater recognition and appreciation around the world.

“The refurbishment of its A-listed home, which itself is one of Scotland’s modern architectural triumphs, as well as the innovative and engaging redisplay of the collection, will ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience and return time and again to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the art on display.

“At the same time, the connection between the city and the Burrell Collection and Pollok Country Park will grow even stronger as a result of the museum reopening.”

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Glass panels depicting St John the Baptist, stained and painted in Rouen, France, are among the items on show (Jane Barlow/PA)

Glass panels depicting St John the Baptist, stained and painted in Rouen, France, are among the items on show (Jane Barlow/PA)

Glass panels depicting St John the Baptist, stained and painted in Rouen, France, are among the items on show (Jane Barlow/PA)

Other highlights of the museum include Chinese pottery and porcelain produced over a 5,000-year period and paintings by renowned French artists including Manet, Cezanne and Degas.

Medieval treasures including stained glass, arms and armour and more than 200 tapestries and carpets, also feature in the collection.

A new central stairway will allow visitors access to the lower floor of the Burrell Collection for the first time, where they can watch items not on display being cared for, while a new temporary exhibition space has also been created.

New galleries have been created on upper floors which will take visitors to spaces in the building they have never seen before.

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Meanwhile, the museum’s environmental performance has been enhanced by greatly improving the building’s exterior with a new roof, glazing and cladding, and by replacing power, heating and lighting systems with more efficient and sustainable technologies.

Bridget McConnell, chief executive of Glasgow Life, said: “The Burrell Collection stands among the finest personal art collections ever amassed and will bring people back many times to see it in the years to come.”

Nearly half of the funding for the £68.25 million project was committed by Glasgow City Council while more than a quarter came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

There were also significant donations from the Scottish Government, the UK Government, and from many trusts and private donors.

Sir Angus Grossart, chairman of The Burrell Renaissance said: “The Burrell Collection is one of the finest in the world. Visitors will soon be able to enjoy its enormous cultural diversity, great beauty and appreciate the scale of Sir William Burrell’s achievement.

“As a result, its global reputation and international reciprocal engagement will grow further, attracting new audiences to Glasgow to see it for themselves and to gain from the strong programme of international temporary exhibitions which we are planning.”

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