William Stirling (Sir William Stirling Maxwell, 1818–1878) was a Scottish scholar and collector.
The Stirlings and the Maxwells were landowning families, from whom he inherited the Stirling family seat at Keir in Perthshire in 1847, and that of the Maxwells at Pollok, in the south of Glasgow in 1865. Much of the Stirlings’ wealth had come from their sugar plantation in the West Indies which, like others, relied on slave labour until Britain’s abolition of slavery in 1833. He was elected M.P. for Perthshire in 1852, and was a supporter of women’s rights and an active campaigner for educational reform, especially in Higher Education.
Stirling Maxwell was a major collector of art and books. His collection of Early Modern festival books reflected his interests in both these fields, as well as in history, notably of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. They were included in the books acquired by the University of Glasgow Library in 1958 through the bequest of his son Sir John, see
University of Glasgow - MyGlasgow - Archives & Special Collections - Discover our collections - Special Collections A-Z - Stirling Maxwell Collection.
The Stirling Maxwell Festival Books Project seeks to catalogue these books as a discrete genre for the first time, see
University of Glasgow - Schools - School of Modern Languages & Cultures - Research and Scholarship - Research Clusters and Centres - Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures - Our digital resources - Festivals.
He also formed one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain and was a pioneer collector of the art and books of William Blake. A substantial core of his paintings collection now belongs to Glasgow Museums and is usually on show at Pollok House, Glasgow; see https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/pollok-house.