George Wyllie's Burd finds a home at the Scottish Parliament


The smaller sibling to the world-famous Berlin Burd together with a sculpture and drawing by the celebrated Scottish artist George Wyllie MBE, will be permanently housed at the Scottish Parliament,  the Presiding Officer Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP announced today.

The giant-sized Berlin Burd sculpture was displayed in Berlin during its year as City of Culture in 1988 and at over 4 metres tall appeared to look over the wall. A smaller version of the Berlin Burd, together with the scul?ture Contemplace have been acquired by the Scottish Parliament and will be exhibited with loaned works by Wyllie from 19 March.

George Wyllie MBE who died in 2012 at the age of 90 was one of Scotland’s most celebrated and influential artists who believed that art was best experienced in public spaces instead of the gallery environment.

Wyllie is best known for his Straw Locomotive and the Paper Boat as well as the Running Clock that stands outside Glasgow’s Buchanan bus station. He described his work as scul?ture, deliberately replacing the ‘p’ to signify the importance of questioning.

The Presiding Officer, said:

“I am delighted and very proud that the Scottish Parliament will permanently house works by George Wyllie.

“George Wyllie’s art was loved in his lifetime by the Scottish people.  Now his legacy will be celebrated and enjoyed for years to come in the Scottish Parliament.”

George Wyllie’s daughter, Louise Wyllie said:

“Given that the Scottish Parliament is the seat upon which the voice of the nation is heard, this acquisition of my father's work is something of which he would have been extremely proud.

“When his 'Berlin Burd' keeked over the Berlin Wall, it sent a message out far and wide about the absurdity of a wall dividing a city as well as a continent. My father knew that art could make big statements and engage with ordinary people at a deeper level and as a family we are very proud that his legacy is being celebrated within the Scottish Parliament.”


Over the last 15 years, the Scottish Parliament has acquired a modest art collection which is designed to reflect and promote the work of Scottish artists. New purchases are made rarely, with the majority of additions secured through loans.

The cost to acquire the works for the Scottish Parliament Art Collection is £20,000. The acquisitions are:

1. Contemplace, stainless steel and stone. The work references the ancient Stone of Destiny and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in whose Hill House the work was previously displayed, and is the artist’s idea for a Scottish throne

2. Berlin Burd, small steel sculpture and two works on paper.

Further works have been kindly loaned by the Wyllie family and Wyllie Foundation. They are Berlin 1988 (scul?ture);  Maquette for the Berlin Burd and three drawings titled, Ein Vogel Ist Kein Stein.

There was a temporary exhibition of a selection of artworks by George Wyllie MBE (1921-2012) in the gardens of the Scottish Parliament as part of the Festival of Politics 2012.

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