24/11/2016
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£4 million needed to allow iconic Monarch of the Glen painting to pass into public hands for first time ever

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National Galleries of Scotland has launched a fundraising campaign to raise the £4 million needed to complete the purchase of the Monarch of the Glen painting for the nation. For more history, heritage and archaeology news, sign up to our free newsletter.

The Monarch of the Glen was painted c.1851 by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who was then at the height of his powers as an artist. Its impact is considerably enhanced by its fine condition and large size: it is painted in oil on canvas and is 163.8 x 169 cm.  A monumental stag imperiously surveys the rugged landscape; gorse and bracken are in the foreground and dramatic cliff faces and escarpments form the backdrop.

The composition is unified by swirling mist which rises up from the glen and merges with the billowing clouds that mask the mountain tops. The stag is superbly defined, with every detail precisely established, from the texture of its fur to the moisture around its nostrils. He is a so-called ‘royal’ or twelve point stag – a reference to the number of tines on his antlers.

During the painting's history it has always been in private or corporate hands, but could now move into public ownership if the fundraising bid is successful.

BID FOR THE PUBLIC TO OWN THE PAINTING

The painting is currently owned by Diageo, who have announced that they will gift half of the estimated market value of the painting under a partnership agreement with National Galleries of Scotland, who have launched a fundraising bid to raise the other £4 million needed to purchase the painting.

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: 'We are delighted with this grand gesture by Diageo which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this major work to be acquired for the nation. The Monarch of the Glen is an iconic image which is famous across the world.

'The ideal home for such an important and resonant picture is the Scottish National Gallery where it can be enjoyed and admired by millions of visitors in the context of the nation’s unrivalled collection of Scottish, British and European art. We look forward to working with Diageo and our partners to ensure we achieve our ambition.'

To find out more about National Galleries of Scotland, visit their website.

Image:

Sir Edwin LANDSEER (1803-73)

The Monarch of the Glen, 1851

Collection: National Museum of Scotland (on loan from Diageo)

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