Sir William Burrell was born in Glasgow in 1861. He joined his family's successful shipping firm at the age of 15, eventually running it alongside his brother.
Extracts from the accompanying The Greatest Scot television programme are being added to these biographical notes as the programme is broadcast between November 9 and 13. If you live outside the UK, you will not be able to see these, but you may enjoy other videos about some of the subjects which are available via links in the text. Here is a video about Pollok Country Park, which holds the Burrell collection.
By 1915 the Burrell and Son Company owned thirty ships, but Burrell - who had disappointed his father as a child by using his pocket money to buy a picture instead of a cricket bat - had already decided to devote the remainder of his life to collecting art.
After amassing a fortune, thanks to shrewd business sense, Burrell dedicated his retirement to travelling the world, procuring a huge, eclectic selection of high quality artworks.
He sold off most of his fleet and bought Hutton Castle, near Berwick upon Tweed, which was quickly filled with pieces from every corner of the globe, many of which were built into the fabric of the rooms.
He lived a relatively frugal life inside the castle walls alongside his wife Constance, buying art to save it for posterity rather than for himself. But he also had a deep knowledge and appreciation of the works he purchased, having read widely about them.
In 1947 he bequeathed the collection to the people of Glasgow, but stipulated that it must be housed in a rural setting. The difficulty of finding a location meant he never saw his dream realised. It was not until the MacDonald family left their Pollok Estaste to the City of Glasgow in 1967 that a suitable site was found.
The £20m gallery contains more than 8,000 works of art of all descriptions and every culture. It is probably the largest collecction ever assembled by one man, and certainly the largest given to a city. Visitors now flock from around the world to see the collection and the gallery in which it is housed. Desigjned by Barry Gasson and Brit Andresen, the building incorporates entire rooms from Hutton Castle, with stone work, stained glass, wood panelling and other artefacts built into the very fabric of the museum.