THE Golden City was first commissioned by Glasgow Airport in the late 1990s to provide an uplifting image of Glasgow to those embarking on international trips – and it will now be the biggest painting on display at the Paisley Museum when it reopens next year following a £45 million refurbishment.

The work is by Scottish artist Steven Campbell and depicts three views of Glasgow: the Clyde Estuary, the view from the countryside and a view from the University Tower.

Campbell passed away in 2007 at the age of 54 due to a ruptured appendix.

He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art and spent part of his life in America after securing a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in New York.

The Paisley Museum team recently welcomed his wife Carol, former art critic and family friend Clare Henry and Grainne Rice from National Galleries Scotland to see The Golden City in a two-panel display at Paisley's The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly accessible museum store housed on a high street.

Carol (below) said:  “It’s always very emotional to see Steven’s work, but at the same time it’s really kind of life-affirming for me, because for these few minutes, he’s kind of alive again and people are talking about him – it’s a really good feeling.”

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Campbell left Rutherglen Academy at the age of 16, then worked as a maintenance engineer at British Steel in Cambuslang before going on to the Glasgow School of Art in 1978.

Discussing his painting of Glasgow in 1996, Campbell said: “The symbolism of the painting centres around the story of the emblem of Glasgow. It also takes account of St Mungo’s stories, trying to give history a vision.

“It’s not the place to be dark and moody. No way. I want people to be uplifted; invigorated. I love Glasgow!”

Ruth Aitken has been among those working on the Paisley Museum project for OneRen – the charitable trust which will operate the refurbished venue.

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She said: “Steven was a hugely influential painter, setting new standards, and helping to place Scottish art in an international context – paving the way for Scotland’s rebirth as a global leader in contemporary visual arts.

"It’s been a real joy to bring Carol and those who loved Steven and his work to contribute to what will be a spectacular display in our new museum – and I have no doubt The Golden City will bring joy to a new generation of art lovers.”

Clare Henry, former art critic for the FT, Scotsman and Herald, added: “It’s one of Steven’s pictures done at the height of his powers, when he was aged 42 and showing in New York.

“It’s a very optimistic painting. He loved nature and he loved Glasgow, and he has the two aspects here of his great passions.

“It’s an idealised version of the city with a golden glow, a romanticised version. I’m delighted it’s going back on public display.”