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Two Turkish figures appear on the walls of Christopher Wren's Hampton Court Palace, one of Britain’s best known royal homes. Mehmet and Mustafa were among servants here in the household of George I, painted by William Kent on the walls of The King’s Staircase. They were brought to England by the German monarch in 1714, and they are just one of a number of surprise encounters for visitors to the country’s many richly furnished estates.
The art market centres on Londoon, of course, from major auction houses and annual fairs to the galleries of Mayfair. There is no need to buy, and museums are mostly free. The British Museum and V&A are world class but there is much to see in the university cities, too, from Oxford’s Ashmolian and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

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