Glasgow – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Today’s expedition was to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which has now reopened and has free admission but requires advance bookings. I thought it looked very quiet at 10.00 when it opened, but a friendly security guard politely told me that I was standing at the back of the building. There’s a myth that the architect killed himself when he discovered that the building was built back to front and although that’s untrue, it’s all muddled up as far as I was concerned. The security guard said that he expected to send many more visitors to the correct entrance as if to reassure me that I’m not an idiot.

A visit here is likely to take at least two hours, and I was there for longer. I’ll pull some particularly interesting exhibits (or what I call particularly interesting) out in separate posts. What remains below are some random exhibits that I felt the need to take photos of…..

Located in the main hall, this is the Kelvingrove Organ which was built by TC Lewis & Co in 1901 and it’s still in its original working condition. Apparently there are 48 speaking stops (I don’t know what they are, I’m not very musical) and 2,889 pipes.

An elephant. I suspect my commentary here isn’t overly useful, but this is the West Court and until 1977 it was filled with ship models. These are now located at the Riverside Museum which I visited yesterday, and between 1980 and 2003 the area was filled with arms and armour. Now it has a plane, elephant and numerous other dead animals.

I like random exhibits such as this, which is a section of railing from a former public toilet located on London Road.

A Stagonolepis, which lived in this area around 220 million years ago.

The heads in East Court are just a little, er, scary…..

This is ‘Woman in Oriental Dress’ painted by Henri Matisse, apparently with an attempt to show sensuality.

The ‘Portrait of Madame Valentine Fray’ painted by Auguste Renoir, another artwork which shows the quality and depth of the collections that are held here.

The ‘Ostre Anlaeg Park’ which is located in Copenhagen, painted by Paul Gauguin.

Another one of the art galleries, and it’s fair to say that these were less popular in terms of visitor numbers than the displays of dead animals.

I have no words.

The main hall is a grand affair and there’s plenty of space for the performances which take place here.

They don’t look like very comfortable stools.

The stretched out skin of a green anaconda and I can’t think of anything less than I’d want on my wall. Having written that, I suppose one that was alive would be worse laid out in my flat…..

Back to West Court, with a Spitfire being the highlight of the collection here. It’s safer here, for a few years it was displayed outside RAF Leuchars in Fife, open to the elements.

The ‘Coronation of the Blessed Virgin’ by the Arts and Craft designer Harry Clarke (1889-1931) who produced this in 1923.

I can’t remember what these are called, but Richard will know as he’s making one in his front room. I don’t think it’s as nice as this one though.

The corridors of history…..

Another packed gallery full of people.

I don’t doubt the quality of this artwork, as it’s by Paul Cezanne who has a slightly better reputation than I do for painting, but I wonder who originally bought it. The gallery notes that “he may have painted this on a rainy day when he couldn’t get out into the countryside”. I suspect there’s more than a little guesswork there with that statement…..

This is ‘Still Life’ by Auguste Renoir, painted in 1908.

I knew that there were rattlesnakes in Glasgow…..

A happy bear.

And, finally for this set of photos, the museum’s giraffe.

As for this gallery and museum, I thought that it was really quite impressive and there was plenty to see. I liked that there was no admission charge to get in and the whole advance ticket purchase process was easy to understand and worked out well. There is currently a limit of 1,000 people in the building, although at a best guess there weren’t that many inside when I was there. The staff at the entrance were friendly, although there were nearly no staff in the galleries themselves and I didn’t see any actually engaging with visitors. The one-way system seem to cause more confusion than benefit, causing visitors to cluster together rather than just walk where they wanted (and it was widely ignored anyway by the more rebellious visitors). There’s definitely enough to see to justify a repeat visit should I ever be in the area again.