Opening exhibition at The Wyllieum in Greenock

the wyllieum

The Wyllieum, a new space dedicated to the work and legacy of one of Scotland’s most beloved and well-known artists, George Wyllie

The Wyllieum is a £20.1 million project which includes a brand-new pontoon alongside the visitor centre, which was designed by renowned Scottish architect Richard Murphy OBE.

It is owned by Inverclyde Council and was built with funding from the UK and Scottish Governments via the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

With it’s location in Greenock, on the mouth of the River Clyde, The Wyllieum is close to both Wyllie’s home in Gourock and place of work, The Customs House.

the wyllieum
image supplied

The Wyllieum also houses a shop specialising in homewares, books, crafts, and objects developed by The George Wyllie Estate; and shares the building with Scotts Greenock, a new flagship restaurant by local entrepreneurs Buzzworks and Peel Ports’ cruise ship arrivals and departures area which brings more than 150,000 tourists directly into Greenock each year.

Inaugural Director Will Cooper said, “George Wyllie started making art full time after a career that included stints in the royal navy and 30 years as a customs & excise officer in Greenock. His decision to become an artist in his retirement is an inspiration for us all. His incredibly diverse artistic output included anxieties about the banking system and the role of European colonists in the formation of modern America; and many of his themes have become even more vital over time. I am in awe of the dedicated hard work of impassioned supporters who have turned their love for George into The Wyllieum. Our opening programme is hugely exciting – we’ll open the gallery with I Once Went Down to the Sea Again, a survey of one of George’s most ambitious projects. Bringing Sara Barker in to co-curate the show will ensure these works are brought into the 21st century. I can’t wait to welcome visitors into our building!”

The opening exhibition for The Wyllieum is I Once Went Down to the Sea Again
and runs from today, 26th April 2024 until 11th August 2024

the wyllieum
Image supplied

I Once Went Down to the Sea Again brings together, for the first time, the largest selection of George Wyllie’s Spires ever shown in a single exhibition, alongside previously unseen archival documents, photographs and drawings.

George Wyllie’s Spires are simple sculptural forms – a three-legged base with a vertical pole, held in balance by a rock or stone – draw inspiration from Wyllie’s full and varied life. The strong vertical form and gimble used to create balance are borrowed from Wyllie’s deep love of all things maritime; their ability to sway and move in the wind creates a simple rhythm reminiscent of a flag, sail, or ship’s mast.

the wyllieum
Image supplied

Co-curated by Will Cooper, Inaugural Director of The Wyllieum, and sculptor Sara Barker, I Once Went Down to the Sea Again, will launch The Wyllieum’s new gallery space alongside a series of talks, events and workshops. In keeping with Wyllie’s own approach to his work, The Wyllieum is a free, welcoming space of inspiration and invention, posing questions around what art is and can be.


The Wyllieum, Greenock Ocean Terminal, Custom House Way, Greenock, PA15 1EG

Opening Hours

Wednesday to Sunday 12 to 5pm

If you would like information about Scott’s Bar & Restaurant, please visit their website or call 01475 602460




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.