• 16 May 2018
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm

This paper will survey the critical fortunes and uses in popular culture of one of the most famous and widely utilised British paintings of the mid-nineteenth century – Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen, which was acquired in 2017 by the National Galleries of Scotland. Painted in 1849-51 for the House of Lords, when Landseer (1802-73) was at the height of his popularity, it did not end up in its intended location and remained in private and corporate collections until last year. Such a fate did not however result in a lack of visibility:through reproduction via prints, loans to exhibitions and appropriation as a marketing image, Landseer’s painting became widely admired and reviled in equal measures, being adopted to serve a startlingly wide range of commercial, artistic, literary and political agendas. The debates it stimulates continue following its purchase for the national collection.

Image credit:

Purchased by the National Galleries of Scotland as a part gift from Diageo Scotland Ltd, with contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dunard Fund, the Art Fund, the William Jacob Bequest, the Tam O’ Shanter Trust, the Turtleton Trust, and the K. T. Wiedemann Foundation, Inc. and through public appeal 2017

About the speaker

  • headshot Christopher Baker

    Christopher Baker’s research has chiefly focused on the British art world of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, considering individual artists, the reception of their work and aspects of the history of collecting and display; exhibitions he has organised include Jean-Etienne Liotard (2015, with the Royal Academy of Arts, London); John Ruskin (2014, with the National Gallery of Canada); and Turner and Italy (2008, with the Palazzo Diamanti, Ferrara and the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest). Contemporary artists he has collaborated with on exhibitions include Annie Lennox, David Bailey and Douglas Gordon. In 2011 his catalogue of English Drawings and Watercolours 1600-1900 in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland was published with the support of a Mellon grant. Before moving to Edinburgh he was responsible for collections at Christ Church, Oxford, and a researcher at the National Gallery in London. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Center for British Art at New Haven and is a member of the U.K. Government Spoliation Panel.