This Museum and Art Gallery is a real home from home to just about everyone who grew up in or around the Glasgow area. It is the most visited museum in Britain if you don’t count the London ones which obviously get masses of tourist trade.
I think our mothers took us from a very early age partly because it was somewhere to take kids which was warm and dry, which is always a bonus when you live in such a wet climate.
It’s a great habit to get into though and I’m sure that it has given millions of people a real love and appreciation of the arts over the years.
We were deprived of it for four whole years whilst refurbishment took place and I was chewing at the bit to get there when it re-opened. So was everybody else apparently because the place was absolutely heaving with people and it was great to see so many youngsters for whom it must have been their first visit.
Kelvingrove was built for the 1901 International Exhibition and although other buildings were erected for it they were only ever meant to be temporary for the duration of the exhibition.
The International Exhibition was a great success and the profits from it were kept in a fund which was used to purchase art works and artefacts.
It seems hard to believe but in 1951 the fund still had £8,200 in it. In London the Salvador Dali painting called Christ of St. John of the Cross was being exhibited with a price tag of £12,000 on it.
I think there must have been quite a lot of haggling but eventually Dali accepted the £8,200 and the Dali belonged to Glasgow. Much to the horror of quite a lot of people who thought it was a ridiculous sum of money to give to a living artist.
It must be worth several million now and although I really don’t like religious art I must admit to a fondness for this one. Especially the bottom section of it. If you happen to be in the Glasgow area be sure to check it out.