FIFTY walkers joined Ashmolean Museum director Dr Christopher Brown as he hit the Manet trail in Oxford yesterday.

The walk was held to promote the museum’s bid to save an Impressionist masterpiece for the nation.

Earlier this week 10 full-size replicas of Manet’s Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus were put up around the city.

Dr Brown was joined by staff and art-loving members of the public to inspect the new additions to Oxford’s streetscape.

And there was a surprise for the group when Manet’s favourite model Fanny Claus came alive. In Broad Street they were greeted by Ashmolean education officer Claire Coleman, dressed as Mademoiselle Claus.

Art students Manon Franklin-Fraiture, of Edith Road, Oxford and Izzy Nicolson, of Islip, took the opportunity to get out their sketch pads.

Ms Franklin-Fraiture, 18, who will begin an art course at Abingdon & Witney College in September, said: “We had no idea there was going to be a model. But I take my sketch pad wherever I go. The Manet is a beautiful painting. It should be put in a museum in a city like Oxford.”

The Ashmolean has until August 1 to raise £7.83m to buy the painting. With just three weeks to go it needs another £590,000.