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Smith Art Gallery & Museum

With one of Scotland's most important historical collections, the core of Stirling's Smith Art Gallery & Museum is the fine art bequeathed it in the legacy of Thomas Stuart Smith (1814-1869). In its own grounds, nestling under Stirling Castle, the gallery was designed in the Italianate style by John Lessels and opened its doors in 1874. It now boasts a major exhibition, The Stirling Story.

With its wide range - from prehistoric whalebones via medieval pottery, Renaissance furniture, the world's oldest football and curling stone, Jacobite memorabilia, artefacts from the seven important Trades of Stirling and ancient tartans to collections from Stirling's Tolbooth (the gaol) - the Smith explores the history, natural history, heritage and culture of the Stirling area.

The fine art, including Thomas Stuart Smith's own The Pipe of Freedom, has oils, watercolours, prints, drawings and etchings, as well as a small collection of sculpture, dating from around 1670 to the present day with examples of Scottish, English and European art. Individual works include Joseph Denovan Adam's Cattle, Johannes Vosterman's Stirling in the Time of the Stuarts, Alexander Nasmyth's oil of Stirling Castle, Cosmo Alexander's portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the collection of oil sketches by Sir George Harvey, depictions of Robert the Bruce and de Bohun by John Duncan and a portrait of William Wallace by an unknown 19th-century artist.

The theme of childhood through the ages is represented by a toy collection, christening gown and other household items as well as a Second World War doll's house. Other wartime pieces have been donated by local people, including wall panels from Castlerankine PoW camp at Denny, painted by German prisoner-of-war, Otto Laub.

Recent additions include the landscaping of the grounds at the rear of the building, called Allie's Gardens, after Ailie R Maclaurin (1913-2000) of Stirling Homesteads, which follows her life-long interest in biodiversity and sustainability. Also new are the two mosaics by Maggy Howarth at the entrance, decorated with thistles, one with the ancient word for Stirling - Strevelyn - next to a castle depicting the town on a map from 1450, as well as a depiction of Wallace's Battle of Stirling Bridge, including a quotation from Robert Burns, written when he visited the town.

John Lessels' imposing façade of Stirling's Smith Art Gallery & Museum

Smith Art Gallery & Museum Information

When: Daily; not Mon

Where: Stirling

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10.30am-5pm; Sun 2pm-5pm

Address: Dumbarton Rd, Stirling, FK8 2RQ

Hotels near Smith Art Gallery & Museum

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