Tullie House is the largest museum in Cumbria and an Arts Council England ‘Major Partner Museum’ and serves a wide area in the north west of England and southern Scotland. The natural history, archaeology, and social history of the region are explored through a series of award winning galleries, together with fine art from the museum’s nationally important collection. A member of the Cumbria Museums Partnership, Tullie House has excellent relationships with the museums within its region and is able to act as a first point of contact for national and international loans from institutions across the county.
Collection strengths include:
Numbering almost a third of a million specimens, the zoology, biology and geology collections are nationally important. The majority of specimens are from the county of Cumbria and have been collected over a period of more than 100 years: a unique resource for understanding the landscape and biodiversity of the region.
The archaeology collections span the period from the arrival of humans in Cumbria to the early modern period. Material from the Roman occupation includes national and internationally significant objects from Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall.
The personal, communal and working life of Carlisle is illustrated in the museum’s social history collection, ranging from Elizabethan horse racing bells to decorated tins for locally made Carr’s biscuits. Of particular interest is the impressive collection of costume and textiles, including 18th and early 19th century dresses and North Country quilts
Tullie House also holds an outstanding collection of fine art featuring British artists from 1650 to the present. Notable artists include Lucien Pissarro, Stanley Spencer and Peter Blake. An important group within the collection is work by local and visiting artists relating to northern Cumbria: Sam Bough, Winifred Nicholson and Keith Tyson are among those represented. The Pre-Raphaelite collection is of special interest and includes work by Rossetti and ‘The Rift in the Lute’, by Arthur Hughes, the last Pre-Raphaelite painter. The Arts and Crafts movement is well represented including some fine decorative metalwork.
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