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£4m bid to retain Landseer masterpiece in Scotland

Monarch of the Glen

monarch-of-the-glen-2The National Galleries of Scotland is to partner drinks company Diageo to secure The Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer for permanent public display in Scotland.

Under the arrangement Diageo has agreed to gift half the estimated market value of the painting to allow NGS the opportunity to acquire the work.

NGS will now embark on a fundraising campaign to secure £4 million to bring the painting into its collection and allow the painting to pass from private to public hands for the first time in its history. 

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland welcomed Diageo’s partnership approach.

He 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.” 

David Cutter, Diageo’s senior director in Scotland and President of Global Supply & Procurement, also welcomed the partnership.

He said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Galleries of Scotland, to create the opportunity for The Monarch of the Glen to remain on public display in Scotland on a permanent basis.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs commented: “I am pleased to welcome this plan to keep the iconic Monarch of the Glen on public display in Scotland for all to enjoy.

“Recent reaction to news of its auction underlined the importance of this painting and I’m pleased the National Galleries and Diageo have agreed a plan to ensure its long association with Scotland can continue.”

The Monarch of the Glen is one of the most famous paintings of the nineteenth century. It has taken on many different meanings and is considered a work of great technical accomplishment. It has been in private and corporate collections since it was painted in 1851.

It had been on exhibition in London as part of the celebration of Christie’s 250th anniversary. Christie’s were responsible for selling the painting exactly 100 years ago and have assisted in ensuring it now finds a permanent home in the Galleries, with an arrangement which reflects that the painting’s popular appeal surpasses its genre.

Jussi Pylkkanen, Global President, Christie’s, said: “This superb painting was purchased from Christie’s in 1916, and it is fitting exactly 100 years later in our 250th year it has the opportunity to find its permanent home in the National Galleries of Scotland.”


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