Monarch of the Glen set to tour Scotland after being secured for the nation

The iconic Monarch of the Glen painting is set to go on tour around the country after the Scottish Government stepped in to help secure its future.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:20 am
The Monarch of the Glen has been secured for the nation after a four-month fundraising campaign.

The National Galleries of Scotland has used a ring-fenced government fund for acquisitions to help secure the 19th century masterpiece following a four-month fundraising campaign.

Ministers have also agreed to provide extra funding to help meet the costs of a nationwide tour of Sir Edwin Landseer’s painting, which is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most iconic paintings.

Donations from around the world, including Queensland, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, helped ensure that the painting has entered public ownership for the first time.

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Sir John Leighton has led the fundraising drive to secure the Monarch of the Glen.

The tour is expected to take in at least three locations around the country, including at least one in the Highlands, with museums and galleries expected to vie for the chance to display the painting.

A £750,000 drive was launched in mid-February to raise the final amount needed to buy the painting from whisky giants Diageo for £4 million.

The National Galleries faced a race against time to find the money after striking a “part-purchase, part-gift” deal in November, weeks after it emerged the firm was planning to put it up for auction with a £10 million price tag.

The 1851 painting of a stag set against a remote Highland backdrop, had previously been on long-term loan to the National Museum of Scotland, was expected to attract global interest when it came under the hammer in London.

Sir John Leighton has led the fundraising drive to secure the Monarch of the Glen.

However it was unveiled today at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, where it will be on public display initially, as details of the acquisition and tour were announced.

The £100,000 used from the National Galleries’s own resources represents 50 per cent of its annual ringfenced budget for acquisitions from the government.

The painting was originally commissioned for the House of Lords, but never went on display and was bought from the artist by the sportsman Lord Londesborough for 350 guineas.

It changed hands several times before being snapped up by whisky firm John Dewar and Sons in 1916 and has been in the hands of the industry from then until now.

Although born in London, the artist - who created work for Sir Walter Scott and Queen Victoria - had been visiting the Highlands regularly for more than 25 years when he created the Monarch of the Glen.

The public campaign generated £266,000 worth of backing, with a further £634,000 coming from private trusts and donations.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed £2.65 million towards the purchase, with a further £100,000 from the HLF and £75,0000 from the government going towards the cost of the tour.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries, said: “We are thrilled that we have been able to secure this iconic work for the national collection.

“The enormous support from the public has been incredible with donations coming from all over the world and from the length and breadth of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. Your gift has helped to ensure that this magnificent work will be enjoyed by millions of people for generations to come.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The overwhelmingly positive response to the public fundraising campaign underlines the importance of the painting to people in Scotland and around the world.

“I am pleased the Scottish Government was able to provide £100,000 towards its acquisition and a further £75,000 for a tour that will enable communities across Scotland to see it.

“I look forward to seeing the Monarch of the Glen continue to attract visitors from far and wide in the years to come.”

David Cutter, Diageo’s senior director in Scotland, said: “We’re very happy to have partnered with the National Galleries of Scotland and to see the positive outcome of that with the Monarch of the Glen passing into permanent public ownership in Scotland for the first time in its history.”