ART experts have chosen Southampton as one of only 12 cities in the UK to show work by one of the world’s most celebrated artists.

A selection of 12 sketches by famed artist Leonardo da Vinci will arrive at City Art Gallery in February 2019 as part of a nationwide show designed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Italian Renaissance painter, scientist and inventor.

The works – which have been selected to show the range of the artist’s interests including painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany – are usually kept in the print rooms at Windsor Castle but will be put on show to give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of the extraordinary artist.

But curators at Southampton city art gallery have also chosen work by local artists to be shown alongside da Vinci’s in a series of “complementary exhibitions”.

Artist and Delays singer Greg Gilbert will be showing a selection of work that resonates with da Vinci’s.

As reported, the Bitterne-based artist has shown work at galleries around Southampton but is also battling stage four bowel cancer and currently undergoing chemotherapy.

He said: “To be exhibiting alongside one of art’s seminal figures at Southampton City Art Gallery is a wonderful honour”.

Now work will begin on preparing the Da Vinci drawings for exhibition. Although they have been shown to the public in the past due to their sensitivity to light they are not kept on permanent display.

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci are a national treasure, both incredibly beautiful and the main source of our knowledge of the artist. We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works, which allow us to enter one of the greatest minds in history, and to understand the man and his achievements.”

Southampton City Council’s head of culture Councillor Satvir Kaur said it’s “an honour” to have the drawings, and added: “Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest artists of all time, and we are thrilled to be the only gallery on the south coast to be hosting this exhibition.”

Work from Southampton’s collection that show the importance of drawing in artistic practise will also go on show as well as programme of activities.

The exhibition will run from February 1 to May 9, 2019.