Leader comment: small price to pay for Scottish gem

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) launched a public fundraising campaign to raise the remaining sum required to secure the acquisition of The Monarch of the Glen, c.1851 by Sir Edwin Landseer (180273)
The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) launched a public fundraising campaign to raise the remaining sum required to secure the acquisition of The Monarch of the Glen, c.1851 by Sir Edwin Landseer (180273)
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On the face of it, £750,000 looks like an awful lot of money. But let us look at the detail. There has already been very generous behaviour in a bid to return one of Scotland’s most famous and recognisable paintings to public ownership, and keep it in Scotland.

Sir Edwin Landseer’s 1851 work Monarch of the Glen is quintissentially Scottish. Now the public are being asked to raise the further £750,000 needed to save it for the nation and to get this painting in to the National Galleries of Scotland, where it belongs.

It is currently owned by drinks giant Diageo, who acquired it after they took over Dewar’s whisky, which had used it as part of their brand identity. The painting is probably worth around £10m but the comopany, in a very generous move have offered it to the nation for only £4m in a “part-­purchase, part-gift” deal, which cannot have been a easy decision for hard-headed business people.

And the the Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged £2.75 million. The Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, has pledged £350,000 towards the purchase and a further £150,000 worth of donations and pledges have been made from as far afield as the United States and Alaska.

Now a “Help Save The Stag” campaign has been launched with four weeks to raise the £750,000 outstanding from the public.

It cannot be that the people of Scotland will not rise to that challenge. That sum, when put against what the painting represents and what other people have given, is surely achievable. The prize is keeping this amazing painting in this country and getting it in to public ownership for the very first time. Dig deep Scotland, it is worth it.