Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow Scotland

Standing majestically over Queen Street, like a massive Roman temple, the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art is simply unavoidable.

You can not move around the centre of Glasgow without walking by it or seeing it from a distance. The collections draw the second most visitors to any gallery outside of London.

This is something to be expected from a city that called itself the "Second City of the British Empire" not so long ago. The Empire may no longer be there but Glasgow, have no fear, continues to flourish.


Address Telephone Number Opening times

Gallery of Modern Art
Royal Exchange Square
G1 3AH
Tel: +44 (0) 141 229 1996
Open Mon-Thurs and Sat 10am to 5pm

Friday and Sunday open 11am - 5pm

History of the Building

The majority of art collections in museums across the United Kingdom, or the world for that matter, come from private bequests. This gallery houses some of these great pieces in its collections. It is not just the art work that get donated thought. Many a wealthy individual has donated their home to the city so that it can be used as a gallery; one of the more famous instances in Glasgow is the McLellan Galleries. In this galleries case,it took over 200 years for this to happen.

Picture of the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

The Wealth of Glasgow turned into what you see today

The tobacco trade in the American colonies brought immense wealth to Glasgow. Fortunes were made quickly and lost just as fast. Our merchant was William Cunninghame of Lainshaw. He built a large townhouse, which you can see if you imagine the absence of the pillars and cupola. He sold it to the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1817. About ten years later, the Royal Exchange moved in, after which the square is named.

David Hamilton has a hand in the design

The new owners demanded changes and called upon David Hamilton to direct them. He was the most famous architect in Glasgow, possibly Scotland. He was not permitted to tear down the townhouse, which was his original wish. Instead he added the Corinthian pillars, the cylindrical cupola - which reminds you of a wedding cake - and replaced the rear garden with a hall whose ornamented ceiling still retains all of its original beauty. By 1832, he had finished and business could begin.

The Duke of Wellington's Statue and Hat

In 1844, a 6.5 metres (20 feet) statue of the Duke of Wellington was built in front of the building. This magnificent statue was made by an Italian, Carlo Marochetti. There has been some deterioration to it over the years. The statue has lost its spurs and part of the sword. Apart from this though, an addition to it, the traffic cone which has been placed on the Duke's head, has become one of the signature marks of the city of Glasgow.

A Library and Finally - The Art Museum

In 1954, the Stirling’s Library was moved in. When that went back to Miller Street, the city took the opportunity to create a home for its contemporary art collection. Very recently, in 1996, the doors opened to the public. Glaswegian's now had another wonderful location to add to their growing collection of galleries and museums.

More things to do at the Gallery today than every before.

A large Learning Library is open in the basement. Workshops are regularly organized. There are always new exhibitions on as the Gallery of Modern Art strives to keep pace with the changing fashions of art. Most of the artists on display are Scottish, although you can find works by David Hockney and Andy Warhol, both renowned for their Pop Art and Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian photographer.

A good place to stop off on a Bus Tour around the city

Nearby is George Square with its cenotaph and the Glasgow City Chambers. Bus tours around Glasgow start and end here.