Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. John William Simpson (1858-1933) and Edmund John Milner Allen (1859-1912). 1891-1901. Restored 2003-6. Red Locharbriggs sandstone. Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow. Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]
Alfred Waterhouse was the adjudicator for the competition to design this building, and there was the predictable protest over his choice of English architects for the commission (see Nisbet). Nevertheless, it became one of Glasgow's best loved cultural centres, and looks very picturesque above the trees of Kelvingrove Park: "Its exotic towers and vivid colours dominate the S end of Kelvingrove Park, and loom large in the views along the main road" (Williamson et al. 277). The "exotic" element came, unusually, from Spain. The style is described as Hispanic Baroque, and the centre of the north front is said to have been inspired by the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (see Williamson et al. 277). It is enriched by a great deal of architectural sculpture supervised, and some of it executed, by George Frampton. With its huge entrance porch, high barrel-vaulted central hall, plethora of towers and turrets, and abundant detailing, "its peculiar eclecticism defies classification," says Ray McKenzie (249).
McKenzie, Ray, with contributions by Gary Nisbet. Public Sculpture of Glasgow. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002.
Nisbet, Gary. Glasgow: City of Sculpture: Sir J. W. Simpson & E. J. Milner Allen." Viewed 14 November 2009.
Williamson, Elizabeth, et al. Glasgow. The Buildings of Scotland series. London: Penguin, 1990.
Last modified 13 November 2009