Pollok Park on Glasgow’s Southside contains woodlands, gardens and two outstanding cultural destinations – the Burrell Collection and Pollok House. Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) was a successful shipping agent in Glasgow who, by 1918, had sold of most of his fleet and devoted the rest of his life to his other interest: collecting art. In the 1940s, he donated his collection of over 8000 items to the City of Glasgow, and since 1983 they (or as many as can be displayed) have been housed at Pollok. We went on Saturday to visit the Masters of Impressionism exhibition which brought together some of Burrell’s paintings by Degas, Manet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and more. We enjoyed seeing some very familiar pictures as well as others which are not normally on public display – it’s on till 5th January 2014 so go if you can. We also watched the BBC film on Burrell, narrated by Kirsty Wark, which was showing in the theatre. It’s no longer on iPlayer, but you can see clips on the BBC site which will give you a flavour of the collections, although not of the man (not very nice is my impression, having seen the full film, in either his business dealings or the way he treated his daughter.) Finally, a small gem of an exhibition highlighted seventeenth century costume based around an extremely rare crimson silk satin petticoat embroidered with a variety of flowers and birds which might have belonged to Anne of Denmark, wife of James VI and I. A short video explains more.
Both the Burrell and Pollok House, which is a National Trust for Scotland property, have restaurants. Pollok’s is far more interesting, being housed in the old kitchen, but the Burrell’s self-service cafeteria is nice enough. I’m ashamed to say we sampled both, with lunch at the Burrell when we arrived and afternoon tea and scones in Pollok before we left. I don’t think the leisurely stroll round the gardens will have worked off those calories!