Under the agreement, the NGS, which has exhibited the painting on loan for the past 17 years, will be required to raise of the £8m needed to acquire the painting. Diageo, the drinks conglomerate that owns the painting and had consigned it for Christie’s December 8 sale, have agreed to 'gift' the other half.
“We are delighted with this grand gesture by Diageo which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this major work to be acquired for the nation,” said NGS director-general Sir John Leighton.
Under the terms of the new agreement NGS has until mid-March to raise the required £4m.
ATG understands that the partnership was formed following public backlash against the announcement that the painting could leave the public sphere and possibly enter an overseas collection.
If NGS is successful in its fundraising it will be the first time Monarch of the Glen has passed out of private ownership.
The oil from 1851 is one of Scotland’s most recognisable images and has featured as a logo for products including ale, butter, soup and whisky. Landseer painted the ‘Royal’ stag standing in a highland landscape believed to be in Glen Affric.
“Recent reaction to news of its auction underlined the importance of this painting,” said Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for tourism and external affairs. “I’m pleased the National Galleries and Diageo have agreed a plan to ensure its long association with Scotland can continue.”