Fundraising campaign saves Edwin Landseer’s masterpiece from auction
‘Monarch of the Glen’, a masterpiece by Sir Edwin Landseer and one of the most renowned paintings in Scotland, has been saved from auction following a £4 million fundraising campaign, it has been reported.
Initially, the owner of the painting, multinational drinks company Diageo, had offered the artwork for sale at auction in November 2016, causing fears that Landseer’s work would be sold overseas.
This worry caused the National Galleries of Scotland to negotiate a deal whereby Diageo would accept an offer at half of its £8 million estimated market value.
However, in order to reach this figure, the gallery required help to fund the deal, which fortunately, wasn’t in short supply.
The majority of funding came from National Lottery players, with the Heritage Lottery Fund also offering £2.65 million. Some £634,000 was provided from private trusts and foundations, £350,000 was acquired from the Art Fund and a further £100,000 from the Scottish government from the NGS acquisition fund.
Following the public campaign, the painting received donations not only from the UK but from around the world, including those from Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Anchorage, raising £266,000.
For the past 17 years, Diageo had the painting on loan to the National Museum of Scotland but it will now take up residence in the Scottish National Gallery before touring the rest of the country.
Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, expressed his gratitude for the donations, commenting: “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.”
The famous painting by Sir Edwin Landseer shows a majestic stag in the midst of a misty mountain landscape, believed to have been painted to celebrate hunting in the Scottish Highlands.
While the painting is admired by art enthusiasts across the globe, the National Galleries is encouraging debate around the painting, questioning whether the artwork is an elitist hunting celebration that ignores working families in the 19th century. Since the painting’s creation, according to the gallery, it has become well known through a variety of reproductions and in marketing for Scottish products.
“This has resulted in the image being transformed into one of global recognition, which for many encapsulates the romance of Scotland’s natural wonders,” said the galleries. “The picture has also been interpreted in different ways, being employed to support changing and sometimes conflicting interpretations of Scottish culture and history.”
In addition to the campaign, the Heritage Lottery Fund has offered £100,000 and the Scottish government £75,000 to fund the artworks tour around Scotland.