How Glasgow Flourished, 1714 – 1837


In the summer of 2014, when Glasgow played host to the Commonwealth Games, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum held a special exhibition called How Glasgow Flourished, 1714 – 1837. This endorsed Glasgow Museum’s commitment to displaying objects and stories about the city’s historic links with transatlantic chattel slavery in America and the West Indies.

The central core of the exhibition was about the way Glasgow’s businessmen worked. This included a display on slavery and cheap labour, as this was a vital ingredient of their success. A variety of objects were displayed, including a textile and a ceramic teapot both showing slave boys and archives from the Mitchell Library showing a Caribbean plantation house, a letter book from India and a form awarding freedom. The exhibition attracted 60,000 people and the accompanying book, Introducing Georgian Glasgow (ISBN: 9781908638069), provided a lasting legacy.

Another display about slavery followed two years later. While How Glasgow Flourished was a temporary exhibition, what was installed in in Kelvingrove’s ‘Glasgow Stories’ gallery was intended as a long-term display. Here there is a small collection of objects which carry the message about Glasgow’s part in slavery in the 1700s when the so-called Tobacco Lords ran the city’s affairs. A Robert Harvie portrait of Lord Provost Arthur Connell, a textile once belonging to the Campbell family who owned Jamaican sugar plantations, with a sugar bowl, snuff box and trade token complement objects relating to Glasgow itself, including  a map and prints of views of the city and one of its mansions in its New Town. Slavery generated the wealth which these businessmen then spent on their property and lavish lifestyles.

Dr Anthony Lewis
Curator of Scottish History

For more information on Glasgow Museums’ collections please visit http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/  Images (c) CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

How Glasgow Flourished Exhibition

GeorgianRotator

9781908638069

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s