National tour of Monarch of the Glen revealed
A nationwide tour of an iconic Scottish painting saved for the nation after its planned auction by a whisky firm was abandoned has been unveiled.
The Monarch of the Glen will go on display in Perth, Paisley, Inverness and Kirkcudbright following a £4 million global fundraising campaign to secure Sir Edwin Landseer’s masterpiece.
It will spend seven weeks in each location as part of the £175,000 tour, which is being bankrolled by the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lotter Fund.
The painting of a stag set against a remote Highland backdrop, which the artist painted in 1851, was set to come onto the open market for the first time in 100 years after Diageo decided to put it up for sale last year.
But the firm withdrew it from a Christie’s sale following a plea by the National Galleries of Scotland, which secured a deal to buy the painting at less than half its £10 million valuation.
The painting had been on long-term loan from Diageo to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh for the last 20 years.
It has been on public display at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh since the £4 million fundraising target was reached in March.
Both Perth and Paisley are vying to be named UK City of Culture in 2021, with the winner of the title due to be announced by the end of this year.
The Monarch of the Glen will also be visiting Kirkcudbright in the wake of the campaign to secure for the area a hoard of Viking treasures which were found on Church of Scotland land, but which have been allocated by the Crown to the National Galleries of Scotland.
Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries, said: “We want this tour of The Monarch of the Glen to be seen as a huge thank you for the overwhelming support that we received during the fundraising campaign and as a celebration that this amazing work of art now belongs to all the people of Scotland.
“We hope that it will be admired and debated by wide audiences across the country.”
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This tour will support people of all ages and backgrounds across Scotland to access and enjoy this iconic painting in their own communities, and will hopefully inspire those who see it to seek out further opportunities to engage in culture and the arts.”