Book Review: ‘William Burrell: A collector’s life’ by M. Bellamy and I. MacDonald

By Hugh Murphy, published November 2022


A biographical treatment of the Glasgow shipowner and art collector, (Sir) William Burrell (1861–1958) has been long overdue. Burrell, unlike the vast majority of his Glaswegian contemporaries in fetid overcrowded tenements, had a good start in life; he was born the third of nine children into a prosperous Calvinist family of shipowners. On his father’s death in 1885, he and his brother George, both in their twenties, took over the business. William proved to have a natural flair for ship owning despite leaving boarding school in St Andrews at the age of 13, and, in the process, built up a sizeable fortune. Burrell was made chief cashier in the family partnership of Burrell & Son at the age of 19 and also trained in technical aspects of ship design and shipbuilding as the family owned a coaster building yard at Hamiltonhill.

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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