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Sir William Burrell

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Sir William Burrell

Sir William Burrell (1861-1958), a ship owner and art collector.

Burrell & Son was a shipping business founded in 1856 that specialised initially in canal services. William began work with the family business at the age of fourteen and when his father died ten years later he acquired control in partnership with his older brother George. Burrell & Son created a large fleet of ocean-going ships. The fleet was sold in 1898-1901, then rebuilt and sold again during the First World War, with the partners realising excellent profits on both deals. William Burrell invested his share of the proceeds wisely and dedicated himself to collecting art.

Burrell had been interested in art since his teens. By 1900 he was a respected collector in the fields of Medieval European art, Oriental ceramics and bronzes and European paintings. An interest in Ancient Civilisations developed later. In 1944 Burrell gave his collection to the City of Glasgow.

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

art collectors, art galleries, Burrell & Son, Burrell Collection, portraits, ship owners, shipping agents

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