PART of a £100m collection of Italian Baroque art has been given to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.

The 12 paintings have been given to the gallery by art historian Sir Denis Mahon, who died in 2011.

A total of 57 17th century paintings were left to six public galleries across the country, with most of them being shared between the National Gallery in London and the Ashmolean Museum in Beaumont Street.

Dr Christopher Brown, the director of the Ashmolean, said: “Sir Denis was a tireless champion of museums. During his lifetime, the Ashmolean was hugely enriched by Denis’s friendship and support.

“We are profoundly grateful to him and to the Art Fund for the allocation of these twelve important paintings from the Mahon collection.”

Two conditions have been attached to the bequest of the paintings: that they are never sold by the galleries and that they do not charge for admission.