Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a museum and art gallery in Glasgow, Scotland, managed by Glasgow Museums. The building is located in Kelvingrove Park in the West End of the city, adjacent to Argyle Street. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland's most popular museums and free visitor attractions.[2]

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
LocationArgyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG, Scotland
Visitors1,832,097 (2019)[1]

The art gallery and museum opened in 1901, and the collection encompasses natural history, Egyptian antiquities, design, architecture, medieval arms and armoury, Scottish history and the history of Glasgow. The building also houses one of Europe’s great civic art collections, including Scottish, European, African, Asian and Oceanic fine and decorative arts.[3]

Kelvingrove re-opened in 2006 after a three-year, £27 million refurbishment and restoration, with the collections re-organised into two halves: Life and Expression. The Life galleries represent natural history, human history and prehistory. The Expression galleries include the fine art collections. The 22 galleries display over 8,000 objects. Notable exhibits include Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross, Sir Roger the Asian elephant, the Avant armour, and paintings by the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists.

Original museum edit

South elevation looking westwards from Argyle Street

The original Kelvingrove Museum opened in 1870 as the City Industrial Museum, Glasgow's first municipal museum.[4] It was housed in Kelvingrove House, a mansion which was built in 1783 and was originally the home of Lord Provost Patrick Colquhoun.[5][6] Kelvingrove House stood to the east[7] of the present art gallery museum, on the site now occupied by Kelvingrove Park's skatepark.[8] The Kelvingrove Museum's growing collection led to a new wing being added to the house between 1874 and 1876. The original Kelvingrove House was demolished in 1899, with the museum wing being demolished in 1911.[9]

Creation (1888–1901) edit

The Centre Hall, looking towards the Pipe Organ flanked by original electroliers, with Dippy the Diplodocus on tour January–May 2019[10]

The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park. The gallery was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen, and opened in 1901 as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition held in that year.[11] It is built in a Spanish Baroque style, follows the Glaswegian tradition of using Locharbriggs red sandstone, and includes an entire program of architectural sculpture by George Frampton, William Shirreffs,[12] Francis Derwent Wood and other sculptors.

The centrepiece of the Centre Hall is a concert pipe organ constructed and installed by Lewis & Co. The organ was originally commissioned as part of the Glasgow International Exhibition, held in Kelvingrove Park in 1901. The organ was installed in the concert hall of the exhibition, which was capable of seating 3,000 people. The Centre Hall of the then newly completed Art Gallery and Museum was intended from the beginning to be a space in which to hold concerts. When the 1901 exhibition ended, a Councillor urged the Glasgow Corporation (now Glasgow Council) to purchase the organ, stating that without it, "the art gallery would be a body without a soul". Purchase price and installation costs were met from the surplus exhibition proceeds, and the organ was installed in the Centre Hall by Lewis and Co. The present case front in walnut with non-functional display pipes was commissioned at this time from John W. Simpson. Simpson was the senior partner of Simpson & Milner Allen, architects of the gallery building.[13]

There is an urban myth in Glasgow that the building was accidentally built back-to-front, and the architect jumped from one of the towers in despair upon realising his mistake. In reality, the grand entrance was always intended to face into Kelvingrove Park.[14]

Refurbishment (2003–2006) edit

West Court; animals on display below a preserved Spitfire Mark 21 which served from 1947 to 1949 with 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force

Kelvingrove was reopened by Queen Elizabeth II on 11 July 2006 after a three-year closure for major refurbishment and restoration. The work, which cost around £35 million, was one-third funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and one-third by public donations to the appeal and included a new restaurant and a large basement extension to its display space to accommodate the 8,000 exhibits now on display.[15] A new layout and wayfinding scheme was introduced to make the building more visitor-friendly, which was designed and executed by London-based museum design company, Event Communications.[16] As part of the renovations a Spitfire (serial LA198) that had previously been operated by the No. 602 Squadron RAF (City of Glasgow) was hung from the ceiling above the life gallery.[17][18]

Immediately after its 2003–2006 refurbishment, the museum was the most popular free-to-enter visitor attraction in Scotland, recording 2.23 million visitors in 2007.[19][20] These numbers made it the most visited museum in the United Kingdom outside London that year.[21] From 2006 to 2009 the museum had 5 million visitors.[22]

Collections edit

The museum's collections came mainly from the original Kelvingrove Museum and the McLellan Galleries. It has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection. The art collection includes many outstanding European artworks, including works by the Old Masters (Vecellio's Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Saint Dorothy, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerard de Lairesse, and Jozef Israëls), French Impressionists (such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt), Dutch Renaissance, Scottish Colourists and exponents of the Glasgow School.

The museum houses Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. The copyright of this painting was bought by the curator at the time after a meeting with Dalí. Between 1993 and 2006, the painting was moved to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.[23]

The museum also contains a large gift of the decorative arts from Anne Hull Grundy, an art collector and philanthropist, covering the history of European jewellery in the 18th and 19th centuries.[24]

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ "ALVA – Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum". Glasgow Life.
  3. ^ "Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum". Glasgow Life.
  4. ^ Scotland's Lost Houses by Ian Gow – Kelvingrove House
  5. ^ "Kelvingrove Park Heritage Trail". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  6. ^ Magnus Maclean, ed. (1901). Archeology, Education, Medical & Charitable Institutions of Glasgow.
  7. ^ Google Maps,-4.2869167,17.46z?hl=en&entry=ttu
  8. ^ Susan Swarbrick (8 July 2016). "The hiddens secrets of the former Kelvingrove House". Glasgow Times. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  9. ^ Susan Swarbrick (8 July 2016). "The hiddens secrets of the former Kelvingrove House". Glasgow Times. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  10. ^ "Dippy the dinosaur comes to Scotland". BBC News. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Basic site details: Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  12. ^ "William Shirreffs (1846-1902)". Glasgow Sculpture. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  13. ^ Hunter, James (2011). Macleod, Fiona (ed.). The Kelvingrove Organ: A short history. Glasgow: Culture and Sport Glasgow (Glasgow Museums). ISBN 9780902752955.
  14. ^ "History of Kelvingrove". Glasgowlife. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  15. ^ Ross, Peter (2 July 2006). "Palace of dreams". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Kelvingrove set to reveal £28m overhaul". Design Week. 29 June 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2016. Glasgow Museums' Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is reopening next month following a £27.9m refurbishment, featuring exhibition design by Event Communications and a brand identity and wayfinding scheme by Fitch.
  17. ^ Banner, Tom (18 August 2020). "What happened to the Worcester Spitfire? Iconic plane's story revealed". Worcester News. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Spitfire on the Ground at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland". Vintage Aviation News. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  19. ^ "Art gallery busiest tourist spot". BBC News. 2 May 2007.
  20. ^ "Museum is top visitor attraction". BBC News. 8 May 2008.
  21. ^ Cumming, Laura (9 July 2006). "Heady Heights". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Surreal case of the Dalí images and a battle over artistic licence". 27 January 2009.
  23. ^ "Iconic Dali painting to be moved".
  24. ^ Deedee Cuddihy (3 July 1993). "Gems in Scotland's cultural heritage". The Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2016.

External links edit

55°52′07″N 4°17′26″W / 55.86861°N 4.29056°W / 55.86861; -4.29056