The collection is named after its donor, the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell. It’s one of the greatest collections ever created by one person, comprising over 8000 objects.
Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) was a successful shipping agent in Glasgow. Upon the early death of his father, William and his elder brother, George, took over management of the family firm, Burrell & Son, which expanded rapidly to a position of international standing. By 1918, the brothers decided to sell off almost the entire Burrell shipping fleet. William devoted the rest of his long life to amassing the bulk of his art collection.
William Burrell's interest in art began in his teens and, by 1900, he was an important and respected collector.