A Painted Stag and Skooshy Cream: A Tale of Tough Negotiation Unfolds...

At the National Galleries of Scotland, we were delighted by the reaction to our successful campaign to acquire the iconic Monarch of the Glen for the nation. Rarely is such warmth and enthusiasm generated by a single painting - which goes to show just how special it is!

We were inundated with offers of assistance – financial or otherwise – from all over the country. But surely the most innovative solution to our predicament came from the Macdonald family in Ayrshire.

On behalf of his daughter Orla, Gary Macdonald got in touch with us back in February with the following offer...

The Monarch of the Glen by Edwin Landseer
The Monarch of the Glen by Orla Macdonald

Sensing a great opportunity, Sir John Leighton (Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland) was alerted to this generous offer from Gary and Orla. After some consideration, John responded as follows:

This is clearly the work of a highly talented emerging artist who has been influenced not just by Landseer but possibly also by Renoir and Hockney with touches of Jackson Pollock. We find the asking price of £2m to be slightly on the high side but wonder whether a visit to the Scottish National Gallery and a cup of hot chocolate would be an acceptable alternative.

But there was one more twist to come in the final stage of these complex negotiations:

Orla is over the moon with Sir John’s kind critique of her painting. She would love to accept his offer of a visit to the National Gallery and if there’s some ‘skooshy’ cream on the hot chocolate she will forget the £2 million. Thanks again for getting back to us you’ve made our day. Regards, Gary

And so a deal was struck!

Orla enjoying her hot chocolate with skooshy cream plus a specially-created Monarch biscuit
Orla and Gary beside Landseer's iconic painting