Describe Online


The information on this page is taken from the audio cassette tape which is available from the enquiry desk. We recommend that, if you have a significant vision impairment, you should be accompanied by a sighted companion who can assist with locating those exhibits which are specifically mentioned in the tour guide and also to help explain the many items of fine art which are not included. The items specifically referred to in the audio guide are indicated by a red triangle.

You are asked to wear the latex gloves, which are available from the information desk, when touching exhibits in this collection. Audio descriptions and tactile diagrams of some of the paintings, produced by The Living Paintings Trust can also be borrowed from the enquiry desk.


The Museum, for the purposes of the public tour, is divided into 15 sections, as described in our description of the building. These are:

  1. The Courtyard, including the Warwick Vase;
  2. Ancient Egyptian;
  3. Ancient Greek and Roman;
  4. The Hutton Rooms, Drawing Room, Hall and Dining Room;
  5. The Picture Gallery, on the mezannine floor;
  6. Chinese Art;
  7. Gothic Art;
  8. Muslim Art;
  9. 16 and 17th Century;
  10. Armour;
  11. The Tapestry Gallery;
  12. The Needlework Room;
  13. The Burrell-Whistler Correspondence and the Montron Arch;
  14. The Stained Glass Gallery;
  15. Burrell the Man, Burrell the Building.

This tape guide does not address all 15 areas indicated on the map which was given to us at the time of our survey. Note, further, that the term "North Gallery" encompasses the "Ancient Civilisations", "Chinese" and "Medieval" areas. In contrast, these are defined as Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek and Roman, Chinese and Gothic, in the map provided.

The Audio Tour

This section gives a brief outline of the tour as described in the audio recording. We make no attempt to provide any substitute for this facility which is readily available.

The tour begins in the Courtyard, particular attention is paid to the Warwick Vase, which is in the middle of this space. You're also invited to examine the bronze statue by Rodin, "Call to Arms".

You then move north through the ornately carved Hornby portal into the Ancient Egyptian section. We're invited to touch the head of the goddess Sekmet and sunken relief of Ramesis II.

Moving into section 3, you can touch a Roman replica of the head of Zeus or Posydon. On the east wall of this area is a glass case with fragments of Assyrian sculpture.

We move, up the stairs, to section 5 the Picture Gallery. From the top of the stairs, turn left and go through the first room, into the second room then turn left. The first painting is a landscape by Alfred Sisley. Moving into the fourth room, attention is drawn to "Dancers in a Box" by Edgar Degas.

Return to the stairs and go down, keep a short distance between you and the right-hand wall to avoid the glass cases. Turn right at the end into the Chinese Art area. Note that those who need to reach the Picture Gallery via a lift should contact staff to arrange this.

In the Chinese Art area, attention is drawn to the Bactrian Camel (in a glass case) and an example of Ming Dynasty pottery (also in a glass case). We can, however, touch the Tang Dynasty ram's head towards the east side of this section.

Move east into the Medieval or Gothic section. Attention is drawn to the tomb of a knight, behind a rope barrier. We're then invited to move south into the room with medieval stained glass, this is the exit in the southeast corner of this area, over 700 pieces of stained glass are in the collection. The stained glass is all back lit and has very strong colours.

Exit via the south side of this stained glass area, then turn left and right (south) and continue to the main passage of the Tapestry Gallery. Our attention is drawn to "The Camel Caravan". From here we move east to the wall beside the wooden screen to view an altar frontal depicting various scenes from the life of the Virgin and Christ.

We move north from here, past the wooden screen into the Needlework Room, displaying the finest examples of the Burrell lace collection. We continue north into the medieval area again to examine the large wooden choir stall on the west wall. There are three of these which can be touched without gloves. Move north, through an ornate archway on which all the carvings are on the north face. You're asked to touch this with gloves. This is believed to be Portugese from the early 16th century.

Turn left (east) and go through the door into the northern 16th and 17th Century Room, called the "Elizabethan Room". Our attention is drawn to the large fireplace on the left-hand (north) wall. The wooden surround of this fireplace can be touched without gloves. To the right (east) of this is an English 16th century clock, known as a Jack Clock.

We leave this room via the east door into the Muslim Art area. Continue through the Montron Arch then turn right (west) passing the steps and lift to the cafe to your left. This is the south side of the building in which most of the religious stained glass is housed. If you continue beyond this, you pass the shop area to your left. If you turn left here, you continue past the shop and enquiry desk, through the two sets of doors, out of the building.

Note that there are public toilets in this entrance area and also adjacent to the cafe.

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© 2005, Terry Robinson