Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Glasgow City Council set to ignore people’s wishes again, as Burrell Collection tour is proposed

It seems I am destined to forever be writing posts about the unbelievable arrogance – some just come right out and say ‘corruption’, but I wouldn’t dare do that – and it’s only a few days since I noted:

Although I don’t pay a great deal of attention to such things (since the truth gets lost by those who like to play politics), we have had such things in the past in the form of the Go Ape story in Pollock Park, the handing over of management of museum assets to private companies (which seemed to upset many), the extermination of Paddy’s Market (to suit some trendy idea about art, possibly because it lay so near re-reborn The Briggait) and most recently, an announcement almost out of nowhere that the Glasgow’s George Square was to be subject to one of six possible makeovers, of which the council would make the final choice of the award of £15 million to the design it preferred, a choice not offered anywhere to the people of the city:

It seems that Glasgow City Council is out to do the same yet again, this time seeking to set aside the wishes of shipping magnate Sir William Burrell (1861-1958), who made the bequest to his city on condition that his prized artworks and historical artefacts were not loaned overseas, for fear of damage during transport.

Worse still, not only does Glasgow City Council want to betray his trust, managers of Glasgow’s Burrell Collection want to put some of the 8,000 treasures on display abroad while the museum building in Pollock Park is refurbished. Worse still, the plan would see the artefacts go on tour, further increasing the chance of the very damage their collector feared.

Now bosses at Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life are in discussions over how they can amend the restriction, including a special parliamentary Bill.

An international tour would help fund the much-needed refurbishment, while reaffirming the collection’s status as “one of the most important in the world”, they have argued.

A statement said: “The Burrell Trustees, chaired by Sir Peter Hutchison, alongside Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council, are examining proposals which would relax restrictions and allow an international tour taking account of the concerns which Sir William Burrell had and how circumstances have changed in the last 60 or so years.”

Via: Burrell Collection could go on world tour against wishes of creator | News | Glasgow | STV

It’s hard to believe that the trustees have not taken a stance against this, and that “how circumstances have changed in the last 60 or so years” is seen as an acceptable reason for attempting to overturn the terms of a bequest. I wouldn’t argue that transport is much safer today, but transport was excluded by the original bequest. The tour could see the collection temporarily housed in major venues in the UK, Europe, North America, and Asia.

The Burrell Collection is housed in its own museum in Glasgow’s Pollock Park, a venue which Glasgow’s council of the time took years to identify as honouring the terms of Sir William’s bequest of 1958, and which was not opened until 1983 (by the Queen, and has gone one to be voted Scotland’s second greatest post-war building in a magazine poll of architects in 2005.

It seems that while Glasgow City Council was prepared to spend years (back in the 1960s) in efforts to meet the terms of Sir William’s bequest, by 2013 it was only prepared to be “mindful” of his wishes… or just ignore them to suit itself:

Cllr Archie Graham, depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The collection’s home in Pollok Park is in serious need of attention and the council will consider options for its refurbishment.

“Sir William Burrell left his mark on the world, both as a businessman and as an art collector, historian and philanthropist.

“His 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.”

Cllr Graham said any progress on a tour would “be mindful” of Sir William’s wishes and “help to secure much wider recognition for his vision and achievements”.

Via: Glasgow’s Burrell Collection ‘may go on tour’ during revamp

More info: Burrell Collection

Burrell building

Burrell Collection, Pollok Park, Glasgow © Iain Thompson via Geograph

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January 23, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , ,

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