Big impression: Tate's three giants set ticket record

Art lovers flocked to the Tate Britain yesterday for the first day of one of the most eagerly awaited exhibitions of the year.

More than 28,000 advance tickets were sold for Turner Whistler Monet, which examines the influence of J M W Turner on the two younger men, who were friends and rivals.

"Their work and aims made a vital contribution both to the development of Impressionism, the art movement that emerged in the 1870s, and the evolution of a symbolist landscape," a Tate spokesman said.

The ticket sales total was more than double the previous Tate record - 13,500 for Edward Hopper at Tate Modern.

The show's recent run in Paris attracted more than half a million visitors.

This exhibition runs until 15 May. Entry is £10. Organisers are considering opening for 24 hours towards the end of the run if demand supports it.