Nothing from Byzantium in the RA's big show - they can't afford the hotel bills





The Byzantium exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts - an ambitious survey of the thousand-year-long Byzantine Empire - is brimming with gleaming objects from Belgrade and Baltimore; from Moscow and Milan; from Sofia and St Petersburg. But, oddly, there are no artefacts from, well, the city of Byzantium itself - modern-day Istanbul. A recent piece in an English language newspaper in Istanbul has lamented this state of affairs, attributing it to the fact that the Turkish authorities required a museum official not only to accompany objects on their journey to London (which is normal practice), but also that that person should be put up in London, at the expense of the RA, for the five-month duration of the show (which is not).

Robin Cormack, co-curator of the exhibition, confirms this. "There are three countries who request that you have a commissar accommodated throughout an exhibition: China, Turkey and Egypt. We had to choose between Egypt and Turkey, and it was a financial choice - the RA couldn't afford both...



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