MG-09 Lillie Art Gallery

Robert Lillie worked as a banker and was an amateur artist and art enthusiast. When he died in 1949 he bequeathed the bulk of his estate to the Burgh of Milngavie. The money was to be used to build an art gallery with three specific instructions to be followed; Robert Lille’s own paintings were to be prioritised, the gallery space was to be made available to the Milngavie Art Club for their exhibitions and the gallery was to hold exhibitions of other paintings either loaned or purchased.
The money bequeathed was over £20,000. Should the conditions not be met the money could not be used. This presented some problems. Although the sum substantial, it was not enough to build a new art gallery. The bequest, however, could be subject to challenge on the grounds that it was “contrary to public policy” as the building would need additional public or outside private funding. After negotiation with the Lille Lawyers agreement was finally reached on a compromise and the Lille art gallery was integrated with Milngavie Townhall, the foundation stone laid in 1961 and the buildings opened to the public in 1962.
Today the Lille houses collections of around 450 works of Scottish art from 1880s to present day. This included paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and ceramics from artists including Ian Hamilton Findlay, Mary Armour and Joan Eardley.

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