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Own Art provides interest-free loans of £100-£2000 for the purchase of paintings, photography, sculpture, glassware or furniture, to be paid back over ten monthly instalments.

The scheme is designed to help galleries sell and make contemporary art more affordable for those who do not have large disposable incomes.

The Arts Council said 12,500 loans had been taken out since the launch, with more than a quarter of sales to first-time buyers, and it has helped artists earn £6.5m. About 80 per cent of the work sold was fine art, followed by ceramics and jewellery.

Visit www.ownart.org.uk