Medieval Treasures Burrell Collection opens at Kelvingrove Museum

Burrell at Kelvingrove: Collecting Medieval Treasures. Pictured: James Robinson (Burrell Renaissance) (L) and Sir Paul Ruddock (curator).

A specially curated exhibition that draws on the singular strength of the Medieval Treasures contained within the Burrell Collection has opened at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The exhibition has been curated by Sir Paul Ruddock, former Chairman of the V and A Museum in London, who is regarded as the most significant collector of medieval material in the world.

Burrell at Kelvingrove: Collecting Medieval Treasures draws from the range of objects collected by Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) to bring together works in wood, alabaster, stone, metal, ivory, ceramics and stained glass and also includes paintings and tapestries. The exhibition will run until 27 May 2019.

Sir Paul’s selections from the Collection include a Triptych altarpiece containing a carved alabaster panel depicting the head of St John the Baptist, an Aquamanile that has Hebrew inscriptions from around 1300, the tapestry Peasants Preparing to Hunt Rabbits with Ferrets dated between 1470 and1490 and a stained glass depicting Princess Cecily made in England between 1482 and 1487.

This is the latest in a series of exhibitions being held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum demonstrating the quality and breadth of Sir William Burrell’s collection while the listed building that houses it in Pollok Park is being refurbished.

Sir Paul Ruddock said: “The Medieval European Collection is one of the undoubted highlights of the gift Sir William Burrell gave to Glasgow. Much of it was bought to furnish Hutton Castle at a time when Sir William’s spending on collecting was increasing after the sale of much of his fleet and was purchased when rivalry with other great collectors of the age was at its peak. This exhibition features a selection of the best objects from the collection including some that I have picked to represent the scope of Sir William’s collecting tastes and the quality of the overall collection.”

Burrell at Kelvingrove: Collecting Medieval Treasures is also supported by a series of events:-

Thursday 8th November, 2pm
James Robinson
Collecting – A Curator’s View
Without collector and collections there would be no need for curators. The profession takes its name from the Latin word ‘to care’. Join James Robinson as he talks about what makes Burrell and his medieval collection so special for him and curators the world over.

Thursday 13th December, 2pm
Anna Lehr
Hidden Stories – An Introductory Guide to Christian Iconography
Nativity scenes are ubiquitous; especially around Christmas time. But are there any other hidden meanings in depictions of events mentioned in the Bible? Join Learning and Access Curator Anna Lehr and try to decipher some of the gems in William Burrell’s collection!

Thursday 14th February, 2pm
Dr Rachel King
Heads on Plates: Burrell’s St John Alabasters
Burrell built up one of the world’s best collections of medieval English alabasters, facing stiff competition from other British and American collectors. This talk focusses on his painted tabernacles. Three of only five known worldwide. Join Rachel King, exhibition curator, to uncover their dramatic and puzzling stories.

The Burrell Collection closed to the public in October 2016, allowing work to commence on an estimated £66 million refurbishment of the Grade A category building and redisplay of the collections, creating a new visitor experience. Before the museum’s temporary closure, only some 20 per cent of the exceptional Collection was on display.

Plans for the refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell will see the museum’s public space increase by 83% and gallery space increase by 35% with store rooms on the lower ground floor open to the public for the first time. As well as improved facilities including café and retail opportunities, landscaped terraces will link the museum to its parkland setting, enhancing the visitor experience.

Throughout the Burrell’s refurbishment an exhibition of works from the Burrell will be on display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, allowing citizens and visitors alike to enjoy some of Burrell’s treasures. An international tour is also showcasing works from the Collection, raising the Burrell’s profile worldwide and promoting Glasgow as one of the world’s great cultural cities.