The Royal Academy’s exhibition “Turks: A journey of a thousand years 600-1600” is attracting large crowds. At least 300,000 visitors are expected before the show closes on 12 April. It was expensive to mount, costing over £1.6 million ($3 million), but received £795,000 in sponsorship, the largest ever for an exhibition at the RA. The main sponsors are the Turkish-owned Aygaz industrial conglomerate and Garanti Bank, along with the UK-based Corus steel group. The show was opened by the Turkish deputy prime minister Abdullah Gul, an indication that the government sees the exhibition as a way of improving its international image at a time when it is seeking admission to the European Union. Meanwhile, “Turner, Whistler, Monet” began last month at Tate Britain, with a record 28,000 tickets sold before the opening. Running until 15 May, it could well break the attendance record for Tate Britain, 200,000 for Lucian Freud three years ago.