One of the world’s best known animal paintings goes on display at the National Gallery for the first time since 1851.
Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen (c1851) has been loaned by the National Galleries of Scotland, who acquired the work in 2017 following a public fundraising appeal and with Art Fund support. The picture is the centrepiece of an exhibition that reveals the close connections between Landseer (1802–73) and the National Gallery.
While The Monarch of the Glen is usually associated with Scotland, it is less well known that it was originally commissioned for the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Landseer also designed the lions for Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and the exhibition includes paintings and drawings connected with these famous sculptures.
As well as highlighting the artist’s close relationship to Queen Victoria, whom he tutored in etching and accompanied to the Scottish Highlands, the exhibition includes other paintings and drawings by Landseer of Highland scenes showing how he developed his distinctive approach to the representation of the stag as hero.