Visitor numbers to a city museum rose by 20% thanks to one of the world’s most famous paintings being on display.
More then 92,000 people visited Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens while the Canaletto masterpiece “A Regatta on the Grand Canal” was on loan from the National Gallery in London.
The numbers coming through the doors at the city centre venue were up almost 14,000 on the same period last year.
The Sunderland venue was one of only three in the country to host the painting, which dates to about 1740. The exhibition, which closed on September 13, is the latest in a string of hugely-popular touring works to have visited Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “The figures speak for themselves really. Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens continues to be a huge cultural attraction in our city centre. The support it receives from visitors gives us ever more opportunities to host hugely-important works like the Canaletto masterpiece.
“The attraction of art should not be underestimated as events like this make a huge contribution to the city, its reputation and its economy.
“More than 92,000 visitors to the exhibition means over 92,000 visitors to our city centre, spending time and money here, supporting local businesses.”
Depicting a gondola race during an annual carnival in Venice, the highly-detailed painting is held as one of the finest works by the artist Canaletto.