West Dunbartonshire Council has spent almost £75,000 on fine art to add to its collection - including a nude sketch by one of Scotland's best known artists.

The move comes as the local authority faces the prospect of cutting millions of pounds from vital local services.

A report confirming the purchase of more than a dozen works, as well as items by leading historical and contemporary female artists, acknowledged that the spending "could be negatively perceived" - but insists that any negative feedback from the purchases, made from a dedicated fund for 'cultural investment', will "be mitigated by community-focused programming".

The council's cultural committee met in November and selected 14 works to purchase with cash from a £100,000 fund set aside for the purpose last year.

Another two pieces were approved for purchase at the committee's December meeting, including "Nude Study" by Samuel J. Peploe from 1930.

Peploe, who was born in 1871, was one of a group of painters known as the Scottish Colourists , alongside John Duncan Fergusson, Francis Cadell and George Leslie Hunter.

According to the latest report, one of the works identified by the committee for purchase in November is no longer available and the purchase of another is pending.

At Monday's cultural committee, council bosses are recommending the authority should attempt to buy even more artworks, this time from Scottish women artists such as Alison Watt, Christine McArthur, Jacki Parry, Kate Cameron and Mary Armour.

The council will also continue to try to buy works by earlier 20th century artists including Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh - whose husband was Charles Rennie Mackintosh - and Margaret's sister, Frances Macdonald. 

Along with Frances's husband Herbert MacNair, the trio comprised the noted 'Glasgow Four' artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The report says there is £26,685 left in the fund.

Council bosses recognised purchasing fine art when the local authority has to find a spare £5 million to keep services running could be "negatively perceived".

Amanda Graham, the council's newly-appointed chief officer of citizen, culture and facilities, said in the report: "There is a risk that this investment in fine art could be negatively perceived by some members of the community at a time when council budgets are under pressure.

"This is mitigated by the fact that the investment is being made from a designated fund created for the direct purpose of cultural investment.

"It will also be mitigated by community-focused programming across West Dunbartonshire’s cultural venues, and by providing access to works purchased in the context of learning, engagement, and creative activity.

"Officers will ensure that the purchased artwork is displayed as soon as possible, for public benefit and enjoyment."

Members of the council's culture committee will consider the report at a meeting on Monday, January 17.