Scottish identity: Who decides who we are?

About this resource

This resource invites teachers to use images from the National Galleries of Scotland collection, such as Monarch of the Glen, as tools to encourage Creativity Skills and interdisciplinary learning. It is designed to meet the needs of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

Age range

We have purposely created exercises that are not aimed at a particular level as we believe in teachers’ professional judgement; you can adapt activities to suit any group, through all stages of primary, secondary and adult learning. 

Choose a theme

Introduction to The Monarch of the Glen

At a time when Scotland is defining a strong role for itself as a distinctive, modern nation, what does this image mean to us today?

Did you know…?

  • It was painted by Queen Victoria’s favourite painter.
  • It was commissioned to hang in the dining rooms of the new Houses of Parliament.
  • At the time it was painted, the Highland Clearances were removing poor people from their homes, to make way for commercial use of the land, such as sheep farming, stag hunting and other rich men’s sports.
  • The artist painted it in his studio in London.
  • The artist was incredibly persistent, spending decades drawing and painting the same themes.
  • One of the most instantly recognisable images in the world, Monarch of the Glen has been reproduced in adverts and souvenirs and continues to be referenced by other artists today.
  • Until 2017 the painting remained in private and corporate collections.
  • Following a public appeal in 2016, donations from around the world, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund and Scottish Government as well as the favourable terms of the owners Diageo Scotland Ltd, allowed the National Galleries of Scotland to purchase the painting for the people of Scotland.
Sir Edwin Landseer, The Monarch of the Glen, (about 1851)

People love it or hate it. What do you think?

This resource was developed in partnership with Hidden Giants.

24 November 2017