PAINTINGS, prints and etchings from world famous artists Turner and Rembrandt go on display in Carlisle this weekend.

Works by Turner and Rembrandt will be on show at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery - including some that have never been seen in the city before.

Turner: Northern Exposure, featuring paintings and prints from the Turner Bequest at Tate, retraces the artist’s 1797 tour across the North of England, while Rembrandt: Etchings from the British Museum marks the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death.

The Turner exhibition includes 13 colour studies on loan from the Turner bequest at Tate alongside two of Turner’s sketchbooks which he carried with him on his journey, filled with subjects that he would return to again and again throughout his life.

The exhibition will highlight Turner’s visits to Carlisle, which became the subject for sketches, watercolours and engravings. Turner returned to Cumbrian subjects repeatedly throughout his long career.

At the core of the Rembrandt exhibition is a loan of 12 etchings from the British Museum.

It will also include four Rembrandt later impressions etchings held within the Tullie House collection. They came to the museum in 1949 as part of the significant bequest from Gordon and Emily Bottomley.

Andrew Mackay, director of Tullie House, says: “The two collections are genuinely extraordinary. The names of Turner and Rembrandt carry with them so much weight and recognition that we’re confident people will be drawn from the whole region to view these masterpieces.

“It’s an honour to be able to share these works with the public.”

The Tullie House Rembrandts include impressions of some of his most acclaimed etchings, The Three Trees and The Three Crosses. These works have never been on public display at Tullie House before.

This exhibition comes as the museum forges ahead with plans for a new costume gallery - which is set to open in May next year.

Research has shown that visitor numbers increase when costumes are on show and so the museum is transforming some of its galleries to accommodate more of its currently hidden away collection.

Mr Mackay said: “A new costume gallery is the first phase of our masterplan and we have external funding for that.

“We are currently working on adapting two first floor galleries so we can show our costume collection. At the moment we have about four or five outfits on display. This will enable us to show about 40 outfits.

“Figures show that visitor numbers go up when we show costumes. People like them.

“The exhibition will be in a space that is currently used for temporary exhibitions and the Carlisle Life gallery will move to other parts of the museum.

“The target is for us to open in May next year and we are on with it now.”

The Trust , which runs Tullie House, is also working on ways to use its collections to telegraph the region’s links to Hadrian’s Wall, and encouraging more people from Carlisle itself to visit the venue.

Mr Mackay said: “We are targeting international visitor numbers and they are up from four per cent a couple of years ago to nine per cent. China and the USA are our target audiences. We are now part of the Lake District China forum and we are working with Hadrian’s Wall. We also have two Chinese speaking members of staff.”

“We are working with other agencies to make Carlisle attractive.

“We now have an annual ticket, which costs £10, and which we think is great value for money. You pay once and you can come as often as you like.”

A business masterplan put forward by the charitable Trust operating the venue was discussed by leading councillors at a meeting this week.

The city council’s executive referred the matter to November’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel for review before a final report comes back to the top table in mid-December for a decision.

Under the plans launched last year, the museum would become the “creative and cultural heart of the borderlands” for the twenty-first century.

Back in December 2010, the city council approved the principle of establishing a new charitable Trust to run the museum. It was handed over to the trust in 2011.