The Old Tullie House art galleries have been reinvigorated with a new focus putting ‘The Pre-Raphaelites: Women in the Picture’.

Staff at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery have curated a new display of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The new exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 18 September, also marking the reopening of the oldest part of the museum after its closure due to the pandemic.

The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of artists in the Victorian era who believed that art should reflect the real world. Their artwork sought a return to the abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Italian art from the 15th century.

Tullie House Museum boasts a significant collection of Pre-Raphaelite work. In 2019, part of the collection was sent on loan to Japan where it formed part of a high-profile exhibition tour to Tokyo, Kurume and Osaka. To the pleasure of the dedicated fans who often travel many miles to see the Pre-Raphaelites, the whole collection is now back in Carlisle and set to draw visitors from across the wider region.

Claire Sleightholm, Assistant Curator at Tullie House, explains how the interpretation has changed:
“When I think about what a Pre-Raphaelite work of art is, what comes to mind is an extraordinary-looking woman in a complex scene painted in jewel colours. With the new display, we wanted to explore this idea a little more. ‘The Pre-Raphaelites: Women in the Picture’ explores the ways women made such an impact on this work: from their roles as models, as symbols for morality, as artists themselves and as patrons.

We’re delighted to put these familiar favourites from our Pre-Raphaelite collection back on display, alongside several pieces that have never before been on display. Our fresh approach shows that women were the heartbeat of the Pre-Raphaelite movements, and here at Tullie House we shine a light on these fascinating and rarely told stories.
The shift in focus continues the modernisation of Tullie House as it remoulds its buildings, spaces and collections as part of Project Tullie. Since reopening, Tullie House has seen a steady stream of visitors using its spacious facilities. However, it is hoped that autumn will bring back a sense of normality with familiar faces returning to Old Tullie House. Alongside the new Pre-Raphaelite gallery, Old Tullie House will continue to display pieces from the museum’s prestigious local art collection, including works by Sam Bough, Winnifred Nicholson and Matthew Ellis Nutter.”

As a charity, Tullie House relies heavily on admissions income and on the generosity of funders, donors, patrons and members. Since mid-March, income has been severely impacted. To find out how to support Tullie House, visit the website at:

Tullie House members and patrons have been granted an exclusive first look at Old Tullie House on Thursday 17 September, with pre-booked time slots online. The public can access Old Tullie House as part of their visit from 10am on Friday 18 September.