AN extremely rare print and its copper etching plate feature in a new exhibition of work by 18th Century British landscape artist JMW Turner at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight.

The print, The Felucca, is of only 30 ever made and is part of Turner: travels, light and landscape, which runs from this Friday, February 14 to June 1.

Featuring 30 watercolours, paintings and prints, the exhibition is drawn from National Museums Liverpool’s own Turner collection, one of the most outstanding in the country.

Together with the copperplate original and the first five prints of the series, it forms a glimpse into Turner’s lifelong determination to raise the profile of landscape art.

Director of Art Galleries, Sandra Penketh said: "Turner continues to be one of Britain's most popular and important artists.

"His delicate works on paper are hidden treasures of National Museums Liverpool’s collection and we're delighted to be able to bring them out of storage and on public display."

Born in 1775, Joseph Mallord William Turner is regarded as one of the greatest British artists of all time.

His long artistic career began at the Royal Academy Schools, London when he enrolled there in 1789.

Themed chronologically the exhibition explores his attempts to challenge the widely-held assumption that landscape was inferior to historical painting.

His early career is represented with a series of prints featuring stunning depictions of Linlithgow Palace, Wells Cathedral and Whalley Abbey.

Covering a period between 1794-1819, Turner's travel for much of this time was limited due the war with France but a small selection of European locations include a bustling print of Basle and a tranquil watercolour of Lake Nemi and the Town of Genzano.

The middle section spans the period from 1816-1833. It includes works which reflect his interest in the rapidly changing British landscape.

Exhibition curator Charlotte Keenan will be giving free public tours on March 12 at 11 and 2pm.

She said: "Turner strove to invigorate landscape painting with a new sense of relevance and vitality.

"The works we have on display reveal how Turner used landscapes to depict the changes emerging in British society, with the energy and power conveyed in scenes such as Dudley contrasting strongly to the idyllic Richmond Terrace."

The final area explores Turner's later works and his influence. It includes Hackfall and The Fighting Temeraire, two works believed to be painted by others in the style of Turner.

Throughout his life, Turner was preoccupied with travel, light and landscape.

He spent almost every summer touring throughout Europe, and the winter transforming his sketches into masterpieces of colour and light.

He lived through a period of great change in Britain and Europe; the French Revolution (1789-1799) and Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), the ascension of Queen Victoria to the British throne in 1837 and the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

He died in 1851.