(23)  The Burrell Collection

Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) left his great art collection to the city of Glasgow on condition that any lending of an item from or part of the collection would only be within Great Britain. The Collection is on public display in Pollok, Glasgow. On 30 October 1997 a parliamentary commission concluded that the condition restraining lending to Great Britain could now be partially over-ridden to enable loans to be made overseas. The commission accepted that handling and transportation of works of art have greatly improved. Limitations were placed upon the power to lend abroad, however, taking account of items which Sir William had rightly regarded as especially vulnerable (mostly textile items). The Glasgow council had argued that lending from the Burrell Collection would enhance the city’s reputation, bring in revenue to enable further art purchasing, and encourage reciprocal lending from other collections. The decision of the commissioners was criticised by Mrs Janey Buchan, a former MEP and Glasgow councillor, as a breach of trust and a profoundly anti-democratic procedure to instigate someone to break a gift.

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