AN “iconic” painting acquired for the nation is to tour Scotland to give more people the opportunity to see it.
The Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer was acquired in March by the National Galleries of Scotland following a £4 million fundraising campaign.
The 1851 painting, which depicts a stag against a backdrop of misty mountains, will visit four galleries around the country between now and May next year.
It will start off at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and will also be shown at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery and Kirkcudbright Galleries.
The artwork was acquired with support from the public with £2.65 million coming from The National Lottery and the rest of the £4 million from Art Fund, private trusts and foundations, Scottish Government acquisition grant funding and a part gift by previous owners Diageo Scotland Ltd.
Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Thanks to the generosity of The National Lottery and the Scottish Government we are able to take this fantastic picture across the country to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
“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 audiences across the country.”
The Monarch of the Glen was originally intended as part a series of three works to be displayed in the House of Lords, but the scheme was never realised and the painting was sold to a private collector soon after its completion.
From the moment it was first exhibited in 1851 at the Royal Academy in London it proved immensely popular, and since 1916 was regularly employed as a marketing image, first by Pears Soap and then by John Dewar & Sons Distillery and Glenfiddich.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “This tour is an exciting opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds across Scotland to access and enjoy this iconic painting in their own communities.
“I am confident this will further inspire many to seek out new opportunities to engage in culture and the arts.
“I am pleased the Scottish Government was able to support both the acquisition of the painting and its tour with a total of £175,000 funding and I look forward to seeing the Monarch of the Glen continue to attract visitors from far and wide in the years to come.”