The 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death will be marked with simultaneous exhibitions across the UK, including Glasgow, featuring his “treasures” from the Royal Collection. The 12 works will also be shown in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland, with the 12th city yet to be announced.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing will give the “widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work” from February next year. The drawings will then be brought together to form part of an exhibition of more than 200 works at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in what is described as “the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years”. There will also be a larger exhibition in Edinburgh when, after the Buckingham Palace event, a selection of 80 drawings will travel to the Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, in November 2019, the largest group of his works to be shown in Scotland.

The drawings reflect the Renaissance master’s interest in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany. Charles II acquired 550 of the polymath’s drawings, which had been bound into a single album, and they have remained in the Royal Collection since the 17th century.

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “None of Leonardo’s scientific work was ever published and, of his artistic work, only about 20 paintings survive today. But the common link to all his work was drawing. Leonardo drew incessantly throughout his life, not just to prepare his artistic projects but to spawn new ideas, record his observations and to test his theories on every subject under the sun. And because he hoarded thousands of drawings and pages of manuscripts right to the end of his life we have an unrivalled knowledge of the workings of Leonardo’s extraordinary mind. Leonardo’s most important drawings have been in the Royal Collection for more than 350 years. Because they have been protected from light, fire, insects... they are in almost pristine condition. They among the greatest treasures of the Royal Collection and among the greatest artistic treasures of the United Kingdom.”

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing  will run from February 1 to May 6 next year at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in  Glasgow. Martin Clayton said the Royal Collection Trust expected a million people overall to visit the various exhibitions.