A ground-breaking exhibition of linocuts by Picasso has gone on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool.

The prints, 17 in total, are from a collection on loan from the British Museum: Nude Woman Under Spring, Still Life under the Lamp and the Jacqueline Reading series, were acquired with the help of the Art Fund.

Picasso began his love affair with linocuts in 1939, becoming increasingly proficient at the art form over the years as he produced linocut posters for local bullfights and ceramic exhibitions during the 1950s and ‘60s, under the guidance of the local printer, Hidalgo Arnéra.

The three series are the surviving proofs of Picasso’s creative process, but each series champion different attributes: Still Life under the Lamp – consisting of 9 prints – chronicles the progression of the print in regards to colour and shading; Jacqueline Reading (Picasso’s sec wife Jacqueline Roque) series we see how he combined to styles – one scratchy and erratic, the second precise and definitive – to produce the final image; Nude Woman Under Spring (inspired by Manet’s Lunch on the Grass) is comprised, laboriously, of layer upon layer of brown, black and white outlines.

These complete sets are entirely unique and offer visitors never-before-seen access to the way Picasso worked in regards to linocuts – Still Life under the Lamp (of which this exhibition contains the original, pictured) is also now regarded by many in the industry as the bench-mark for all other linocuts.

Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Fine Art said: “Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum reveals how, even towards the end of his career, when he was in his eighties, Picasso was an exceptionally innovative artist. Displaying the series of prints in the progressive stages is a superb opportunity to appreciate the complexity of working in this manner and the genius of Picasso’s creativity.”

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries said: “We are delighted to continue the celebrations for this important year at the Lady Lever Art Gallery with an exhibition of work by Picasso, arguably the most influential European artist of the 20th Century.

“Lord Lever’s vision, that art should be an inspiration to all, endures almost 100 years later, with this fascinating exploration of an important body of work for this iconic artist.”

The exhibition is free to enter and will be running until 8 January 2017.