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Record visitor numbers for capital's galleries and museums

The National Gallery. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The capital's museums and galleries had record-breaking visitor numbers this summer.

Many of the attractions had their highest-ever monthly total in August this year - despite the warm weather which would usually keep people away while they enjoy the sun.

The Imperial War Museum welcomed more than 250,000 visitors as it helped to mark the centenary of the First World War.

And the National Gallery saw 681,000 pass through its doors - more than 100,000 above last August's figure.

The Witnesses to War exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Credit: John Walton/PA Wire

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'The opportunity to compare two famous icons'

A pair of Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflower paintings hang side-by-side with twins Ella and Eva Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Director of the National Gallery, Dr Nicholas Penny has thanked the Van Gogh Museum for the unprecedented loan of a sunflower painting.

'This exhibition is designed to help those for whom the paintings by Van Gogh are compelling images to understand how they were made - and made again - and out of what materials' he said.

'It will deepen every visitor's appreciation of the artist. We are very grateful to the Van Gogh Museum for making this possible.'

Five sunflower paintings spread across the world

Vincent Van Gogh started painting pictures of sunflowers in 1888 when he left Paris to live in the South of France.

He invited the artist Paul Gauguin to stay with him in a house he rented and painted the sunflowers which had been left in Gaugin's bedroom.

The five paintings he completed now reside in collections around the world in;

  • London
  • Amsterdam
  • Tokyo
  • Munich
  • Philiadelphia

Vincent Van Gogh's sunflower paintings on display

Two sets of twins stand next to the pair of sunflower paintings created by Vincent Van Gogh Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Two paintings of sunflowers by the post impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh have gone on display at the National Gallery.

The paintings have been reunited for the first time in 65 years after the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam agreed to lend their painting to the Trafalagar Square gallery.