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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 London, 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.
British–Ottoman relations left London with a remarkable legacy. But much is hidden off the beaten track and behind closed doors, like the Arab Hall at Leighton House, pictured here.
An effortless 90-minute bus-ride from the heart of London, Oxford is one of the last bastions of Turkish studies in the United Kingdom, and the Ashmolean the absolute must-see.
Scotland's confident capital, known for its summer arts festival and dramatic castle, is a cultural hub. The National Museum of Scotland has Islamic and Turkey red textiles, and Turkish plants flourish in the Botanical Garden, but more accessible are the city's memorable exhibitions.
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