The Burrell Collection Tapestries Project

Glasgow Museums

The Curator

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Pat Collins, Medieval and Renaissance Curator

Pat Collins, Medieval and Renaissance Curator

As the curator for European Renaissance and Medieval art (dating from about 1000 to 1600) I am responsible for the tapestries in our collection, and have been allocated several ‘hats’ to wear during this project. 

 My general curatorial duties include answering enquiries about our tapestries, and I am responsible for the Tapestry Project Research Archive, which consists of individual files for each tapestry, as well as those documenting the project as a whole. These files need to be updated as new information becomes available – every mention of one of our tapestries in a newly-published book, for instance, needs to be noted down accurately on its file for future reference. Once our catalogue is published, we anticipate that interest in the tapestry collection will generate more enquiries and visits, both from scholars and non-academics with a general interest in tapestries, so we must be prepared! 

Although I am not directly involved in the Conservation and Photography aspects of the project, I deal with any enquiries concerning the tapestries undergoing examination or photography in our temporary workroom/ photographic studio. Many fascinating discoveries have arisen already – it can be difficult to tear myself away from the tapestries when I have other curatorial tasks to do, or meetings to attend.

 As Project Manager of the Public Programme, I oversee the programme of events and activities which introduce our visitors to the fascinating world of tapestries. These include the Project Trail and practical interactives which are situated in our galleries, and the programme of events organised by our Learning & Access team.  

I have programmed the series of illustrated talks by myself and specialist curatorial colleagues which take place on alternate Thursdays from 12.30pm in our Lecture Theatre.  Some talks are academic in nature, others less so; there really is something for everyone!  Subjects covered so far have included ‘Medieval Women’, and ‘Hunting Weapons’ as depicted in Burrell’s tapestries, together with three-monthly updates on the project’s progress and details of important milestones we have reached. 

Future presentations in this series include ‘The Natural History of Burrell’s Tapestries’ and ’15th century costume in Burrell’s Tapestries’ (see the What’s on page, or the Burrell website for more details).

 Research related to the introductory essays for the catalogue, and draft individual catalogue entries for each tapestry, are already in preparation, and I shall be largely responsible for co-ordinating these in the first instance. I shall be writing an introductory essay on the history of Burrell’s tapestry collection for the catalogue. Most catalogue entries are being written by Dr Elizabeth Cleland, who is based in New York, but visits us as often as she can in order to examine the tapestries at first hand. A team of academic specialists in the field of tapestry and tapestry-related studies will oversee and review all material submitted for publication in the catalogue, so another aspect of my role in the project is to facilitate the receipt and circulation of this material as efficiently as possible.


Written by lyndseymcl

February 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

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