Established in 1893 by the Carlisle Corporation, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is situated in a 17th-century Jacobean building. In 1940 Tullie House received a major bequest of over eight hundred pieces of 18th and 19th-century English porcelain from Robert Hardy Williamson of West Cumbria, forming the bulk of the gallery’s craft collection. Over one hundred works are on permanent display in the Jacobean portion of Tullie House.
The museum was extended in 1990 and then again in 2000. The collection predominantly holds British works dating from 1650 to the present, including local artists W. J. Blacklock, Sheila Fell and Winifred Nicholson. Artists from the 19th-century include Samuel Palmer as well as the Pre-Raphaelites.
The modern collection was acquired through a purchase scheme (1933-1975) under the guidance of William Rothenstein, Edward Le Bas, Carel Weight and Roger de Grey. Key artists represented include Stanley Spencer, Wyndham Lewis, Vanessa Bell and Lucien Pissarro. There are contemporary works by Conrad Atkinson, Peter Blake, Andy Goldsworthy and the wonderful, recently purchased nature painting by Keith Tyson that hangs amongst the display of the museum's archeology collection. Tulllie House's rural surroundings of the Lake District have made landscape a key feature of the collection, and an area the curators are keen to focus on.