The Monarch of the Glen voted favourite Art Fund work of 2017
- 13 December 2017
Sir Edwin Landseer's painting was voted the nation's favourite acquisition of the year from a list of 10 highlighted works of art from a total of 80 works that we helped UK museums buy in 2017.
Renowned for his lion sculptures in Trafalgar Square, Sir Edwin Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen is one of the most famous 19th-century British paintings and is considered to be one of the most evocative symbols of Scotland's highlands and wildlife. Landseer's painting depicts a precisely defined 'Royal' or twelve-point stag – a reference to the number of points on its antlers. The painting became widely known worldwide in the 20th century when it was widely employed as a marketing image for various products.
In November last year, National Galleries Scotland (NGS) entered into a partnership agreement with Diageo, in which the drinks company agreed to gift half the estimated market value of the painting to allow NGS the opportunity to acquire the work for £4 million. After securing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund, NGS launched a public fundraising campaign to help raise the final amount. Support for the public campaign came from around the world with donations received from Anchorage, Queensland, Los Angeles and Hong Kong and from across the UK from Thurso to Bath totalling over a quarter of a million pounds. Additional donations from private trusts and foundations enabled the £4 million target to be reached.
Just over 8,000 people voted for in this year's poll, with The Monarch of the Glen receiving 20% of the final total. One lucky entrant won a lifetime National Art Pass worth £1,850.
The top five works were:
1. The Monarch of the Glen, c1851
Sir Edwin Landseer, National Galleries of Scotland
This romantic evocation of Scotland is a powerful marketing image and potent symbol of changing interpretations of Scottish culture.
2. The Watlington Hoard, c850
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Discovered in 2015, this hoard is believed to have been buried in the late 800s by the East Anglian Vikings and includes a large selection of rare coins.
3. Wood Panel of Psalm 150, c1668-1670
Grinling Gibbons, Fairfax House, York
Richly baroque and packed with detail, this panel is a glorious celebration of music; a theme that Gibbon's returned to many times in his career.
4. Silver Poetry; Spring Fever Ring, 2014
Junko Mori, Temple Newsam, Yorkshire
This large-scale work features 31 hand-forged silver components inspired by plants and sea creatures found on the coast of North Wales.
5. Crescent Wing, 2009
Ben Johnson, Southampton City Art Gallery
A painted representation of Norman Foster's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, the artist works with a vinyl stencil cutter to create his highly detailed works.