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Fundraisers hope to reach £4m for Monarch purchase

National Galleries bid to secure Sir Edwin Landseer's painting from drinks giant Diageo.

By STV News

Published 16 Feb 2017.

A fundraising campaign has been launched by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) to secure one of Britain's most famous paintings.

The Monarch of the Glen, painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1851, was commissioned to hang in London's Palace of Westminster.

Featuring an iconic image of a stag in a misty Highlands landscape, the painting was later used in advertisements and branding for products ranging from beer to insurance services.

A partnership between NGS and the painting's current owner - global drinks company Diageo - was agreed in November last year.

Under the agreement, Diageo will gift half the estimated market value of the painting, meaning the gallery has the option to acquire the artwork for £4m before March 17.

This will allow the painting to remain in public view in Scotland.

The campaign has already raised £3.25m towards the final target, supported by donations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, who pledged £2.75m, and Art Fund, who gave £350,000.

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "There has been a great response to the news that we have a fantastic opportunity to acquire this iconic image for Scotland.

"However, we still have some way to go to reach our £4m target and with only one month left until the deadline, we are keen to reach out to the public to help ensure that The Monarch of the Glen can stay in Scotland to be enjoyed for generations to come."

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, said: "I congratulate the National Galleries of Scotland on securing significant sums from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund to support their acquisition of the iconic Monarch of the Glen painting.

"I wish them every success with their campaign to raise the remaining funding to ensure the painting can remain in public display in Scotland so that visitors from across Scotland and around the world can continue to enjoy it."

The Monarch of the Glen has been in private and corporate collections since it was painted.