AN OXFORD art gallery is to close after losing the battle against the recession, high rents and a “disastrous” snowbound week before Christmas.

Danielle Fox, 39, is calling it a day after ten years running Inspires art gallery in Little Clarendon Street.

She said: “We had been doing very well until two years ago, apart from a few blips. We had one blip after 9/11, but nothing like this recession.

“First we managed to make cutbacks, reducing our staff, and things improved, because we have very supportive customers. The last straw was the weather that week before Christmas, when we would normally build up a nest egg, taking £24,000.

“This year we took £2,000 that week and that was a big setback.”

She said Little Clarendon Street's role as a “trendy shopping area” has been eroded by high rents and she said landlords had failed to recognise the depth of the recession.

She cited the closure of handicraft shop Tumi, another example of independent shops’ struggle to survive.

Ms Fox said: “It was very sad when Tumi closed and was replaced by another restaurant. Little independent businesses cannot sustain high rates and rents like this.”

Her parents owned the Seton Walker Gallery in Summertown during the 1980s and she ran a gallery in South Africa before opening Inspires.

Artist Valerie Petts, whose career was launched by the Walkers, said: "I think it's sad from a personal point of view that art galleries are disappearing from our high streets. But with the overheads and the other ways that people can buy art over the Internet, I can see that it is very difficult.”