Founded on donations from the city’s Victorian industrialists and opened at an international fair held in 1901, the huge, red sandstone fantasy castle of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a brash statement of Glasgow’s nineteenth-century self-confidence. Intricate and ambitious both in its riotous exterior detailing and within, Kelvingrove offers an impressive and inviting setting for its exhibits. The wide and sometimes bizarre range of objects on show, from a World War II Spitfire suspended from the roof of the West Court to suits of armour, ancient Egyptian relics and priceless paintings by Rembrandt, Whistler and Raeburn, form the basis of an undeniably rich and deliberately varied civic collection.
Most visitors will be drawn to the paintings, most famous of which is Salvador Dalí’s stunning St John of the Cross. You can also acquaint yourself with significant Scottish art including works by the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists. There’s a special section of paintings, furniture and murals devoted to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the “Glasgow Style” he and his contemporaries inspired.