James Paton, 1897 by Joseph Henderson (1832-1908).
Paton (1843-1921) was Glasgow's first Superintendent of Museums and a key figure in the creation of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. He was appointed in 1876 having previously been Assistant Keeper at the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art, and was initially responsible for the Corporation Galleries of Art (based in the McLellan Galleries) and the Kelvingrove Museum (based in the old Kelvingrove Mansion and originally known as the City Industrial Museum).
In 1886 Paton co-authored a pamphlet criticising museum and gallery provision in the city. Both buildings in his charge were seriously over-crowded and the McLellan Galleries posed a potential fire hazard which put the collections at risk. The need for a new building was accepted by the Town Council and the £40,000 profit from the International Exhibition of 1888 was set aside for the purpose. This sum was increased to £120,000 by public subscription and in 1891 an architectural competition was launched to select a design for the new building. Paton wrote the brief for the design, having toured new museums and galleries across Europe looking for inspiration and examples of good practice.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
architectural competitions, art galleries, City Industrial Museum, Corporation Gallery of Art, International Exhibition, 1888, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Mansion, Kelvingrove Museum, McLellan Galleries, museums, oil paintings, portraits, Superintendents of Museums