The Gallery of Modern Art is housed in a neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the heart of Glasgow city centre. Built in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy Glasgow Tobacco Lord, the building has undergone a series of different uses. It was bought in 1817 by the Royal Bank of Scotland who later moved onto Buchanan Street; it then became the Royal Exchange. Reconstruction for this use was undertaken by David Hamilton between 1827 and 1832 and resulted in many additions to the building, namely the Corinthian pillars to the Queen Street facade, the cupola above and the large hall to the rear of the old house.
Exhibits include works by David Hockney, Sebastiao Delagdo, and Andy Warhol as well as Scottish artists such as John Bellamy and Ken Currie. In front of the gallery, on the Queen Street pavement, stands an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844.The statue usually has a traffic cone on its head. For many years the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced.The jauntily placed cone has come to represent, particularly in tourist guidebooks, the city’s light-hearted attitude to authority.