Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Turner works to be lent to China

Norham Castle, Sunrise by JMW Turner
Norham Castle, Sunrise will be one of the oil paintings on show

China is to get its first major exhibition of JMW Turner's work after Tate Britain agreed to lend the country 80 paintings from its collection.

The loan, announced by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, includes key works The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire and Norham Castle, Sunrise.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain called it "a momentous event" which had taken years to arrange.

The exhibition opens in April at The National Art Museum of China, Beijing.

Deuchar went on to say that the loan of works such as Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army crossing the Alps, would give thousands of Chinese people the chance to "experience the power and subtlety" of Turner's work.

Cultural ties

The exhibition is the latest in a series of displays of UK art to be sent to China with the help of the British Council.

Shows focussing on Henry Moore and Antony Gormley have also taken place over the last decade.

The chief executive of the council, Martin Davidson, said that as China was "important economic partner for the UK" cultural co-operation would be "vital to maintaining strong links" between the countries.

The Chinese show will be a scaled down version of the display currently on loan to the Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Russian critics named the show their exhibition of the year.

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