The Burrell Collection

Renaissance of a Remarkable Museum

From June 2017, we began the monumental task of moving and packing unique artefacts for the Burrell Collection in preparation for their grand redevelopment.

Past and Future of the Collection

This impressive museum, located in the beautiful Pollock Country Park, is named after its donor Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) who was a successful shipping agent in Glasgow.  Upon the early death of his father, William and his elder brother George took over management of the family firm, Burrell & Son. From this moment onwards, the company enjoyed rapid success and international growth.

In 1918 the brothers decided to sell off almost the entire Burrell shipping fleet and William devoted the rest of his days to accumulating the majority of his impressive art collection.

In order for the museum to be able to display a greater number of its 9,000 objects in the present day, largely collected by Sir William Burrell, they plan to modernise the historic A-Listed building. It is imperative the renovation is sympathetically completed, so the ambitious development will take a further three years before it is once again open to visitors.

Our Project Brief

Art Technicians from our Coatbridge and London facilities worked together to expertly move and pack a variety of items into storage, including: delicate stained glass and pastels on paper, ornate musical instruments, crafted oak wooden panels and furniture, intricate textiles, Roman marble and heavy stoneware.

Smaller objects displayed in glass cabinets such as ancient figurines and Chinese ceramics were carefully wrapped with acid free tissue paper, packed into specially made wooden crates and moved into temporary storage.

Packing the Celebrated Luohan Statue

The most exciting and memorable object our Senior Technicians were asked to move was the almost life-size seated Buddhist Luohan, made in South East China during 1484. This stoneware figure was purchased by Sir William Burrell in 1944 and had previously been voted the public’s favourite exhibit. To celebrate and commemorate the moving of this iconic statue, Scottish and UK press were invited to capture our technicians during the initial wrapping process.

When the cameras had left the museum it was time for our team to prepare the Luohan for storage. The greatest initial challenge was deciding how to move this substantial, heavy figure. After much consideration by the Burrell team, it was decided the Luohan should not be separated from its plinth, so our team continued to cautiously wrap the figure and build a bespoke crate around the structure, ensuring maximum protection.

The Refurbishment Continues

This was a fascinating project to work on due the diverse skill required and quantity of intriguing objects. From large, heavy lifts and precious works on paper, to small and delicate artefacts, our team held the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle the impressive variety on display.

The museum will be closed until 2020 to complete all refurbishment work. However, in the intervening period, Kelvingrove are showcasing a series of changing displays from the Burrell  Collection so visitors can still enjoy a selection of its treasured pieces. The current exhibition Burrell at Kelvingrove: Tapestries, which our team assisted to install, displays magnificent French and South Netherlandish tapestries dating circa 1350 – 1725.

If you would like to learn more about the Luohan statue and keep updated on this extraordinary refurbishment, we will be sharing developments throughout the project on our social media platforms.

Photographs: © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections

See what we’ve been handling,
moving and installing

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