FOUR national treasures have been gifted to Oxford in the past year thanks to a scheme that allows people to save on tax.

The Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Library were the beneficiaries of early Christmas presents on Wednesday as the Arts Council released its annual report detailing where the items collected as part of the Government's cultural gifts scheme have been re-homed.

In total 42 cases worth £27 million were accepted for the nation under this and the 'acceptance in lieu' scheme.

These allow UK taxpayers to donate important works to the nation, receiving a tax reduction based on a set percentage of the value of the object.

Oxford museums and libraries have received a sculpture, a portrait, papers and archives as part of the scheme.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of the Arts Council England, said: “I am extremely pleased that in the past year, through Acceptance in Lieu and the Cultural Gifts Scheme, so many important works of art, objects, manuscripts and archives have come into public ownership, allowing them to be enjoyed by millions of people across the UK.

"They will make a significant contribution to the nation’s collections and are a source of celebration for the communities that the recipient organisations serve."

The Ashmolean Museum will receive the 2007 work The Bell Jar by sculptor Wendy Ramshaw.

One of Britain's leading contemporary designers, Ms Ramshaw has long-standing links to Oxford and has described the city as her second home.

The same museum will also be gifted the William Dobson painting of Prince Rupert, Colonel William Murray and Colonel John Russel from 1645.

Depicting three Royalist commanders, it was painted during the civil war while Mr Dobson was based in Oxford - the headquarters of the faction.

The Bodleian is being given the papers of Lord Aldington, a Conservative Party politician who spent much of his career at the heart of British politics, in particular undertaking confidential missions on behalf of former Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The Robert Bridges archive is also being given to the library.

This comprises of correspondence, manuscripts, printed editions and proofs that belonged to the poet and literary critic.