Opened in 1996, the Gallery of Modern Art is housed in a neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the heart of Glasgow city centre. Built in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy Glasgow Tobacco Lord who made his fortune through the triangular slave trade, the building has undergone a series of different uses. It was bought in 1817 by the Royal Bank of Scotland who later moved onto Buchanan Street; it then became the Royal Exchange. Reconstruction for this use was undertaken by David Hamilton between 1827 and 1832 and resulted in many additions to the building, namely the Corinthian pillars to the Queen Street facade, the cupola above and the large hall to the rear of the old house.
Since its opening in 1996, the gallery has hosted several million visitors. It has a dedicated Education and Access studio, facilitating workshops and artists talks and in the basement a Learning Library. The building also contains a café, free Internet access terminals, multimedia, art, and general book-lending facilities. Exhibits include works by David Hockney, Sebastião Salgado, and Andy Warhol as well as Scottish artists such as John Bellany and Ken Currie.
The mirrored pediment on the exterior of the building is by artist Niki de Saint Phalle, entitled Tympanum (1996). Saint Phalle also installed the mirrored vestibule to the gallery.
In front of the gallery, on the Queen Street pavement, stands an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844. The statue usually has a traffic cone on its head; for many years the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced. The jauntily placed cone has come to represent, particularly in tourist guidebooks, the city's light-hearted attitude to authority.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.