TWO of art's all time greats take centre stage from next Saturday, as the creative genius of JMW Turner and Rembrandt grace the spacious gallery walls of Tullie House.

The Carlisle museum and art gallery hosts Turner: Northern Exposure, an important new exhibition of drawings, paintings and prints from the Turner Bequest at Tate retracing the artist’s 1797 tour across the north of England. The Turner show shares the spotlight with Rembrandt: Etchings from the British Museum, which commemorates the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death.

Landscape painter and traveller, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) was described as "the greatest of the age" by art critic John Ruskin and considered by many to be the first modern painter.

In 1797, Turner, aged 22, set off from London on his first tour of the north to sketch in Northumberland, the Lake District and Yorkshire. He travelled up the country to Yorkshire, County Durham and Northumberland before reaching Berwick and turning west to Cumbria and the Lakes. He set out as an architectural draftsman, intent on visiting the abbeys, castles and cathedrals of the north. He returned three months later as a sublime painter of the landscape.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669), draughtsman, painter and printmaker, is one of the most revered visual artists of all time.

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His prints were rarely commissioned and remained a personal venture for him. As such, the prints are perhaps the best document of his working practice. At the core of the exhibition is a loan of 12 Rembrandt etchings from the British Museum, including The Omval (1645), several self-portraits such as Rembrandt’s the late Self Portrait at a Window (1648), and a 1631 portrait of the artist's mother.

Andrew Mackay, director of Tullie House, said they were absolutely delighted to secure the works of two such high profile artists: "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."