The majestic ‘Monarch of the Glen’ stag used as a symbol of the Scottish Highlands may have actually been painted near Slough, historians have revealed.
Sir Edwin Landseer’s deer standing proudly on a hill with a mountainous backdrop has become an icon of Scotland.
However, new research has shown that the beast may have been part of a herd spotted by the English painter in Cambridgeshire.
It is believed that Sir Edwin started his work there before finishing the piece in the stately home of Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire.
Sir Edwin Landseer’s iconic Monarch of the Glen painting, which may have been finished in Stoke Park, near Slough, in Buckinghamshire
The dramatic scenery in the painting is a far cry from the relatively flat grey fields of southern England.
But it is thought that the Scottish Highlands backdrop, added later by the artist, was inspired by Sir Edwin’s love for Balmoral.
Stoke Park – now a five star hotel – states on its website: ‘Sir Edwin often visited Stoke Park during Lord Taunton’s (Henry Labouchere) and later Edward Coleman’s ownership and it was at this time that part of the ground floor of the house was beautifully furnished as a studio.
‘Sir Edwin painted many pictures of the herd of deer in the park including the famous ‘Monarch of the Glen’ and ‘Running Deer’.’
It is be believed that Sir Edwin started the piece in Oxfordshire before finishing it at Stoke Park stately home in Buckinghamshire (pictured)
Despite being an icon of Scotland, and particularly the Scottish Highlands, it appears the famous painting was actually painted near Slough (pictured)
Stoke Park Head of Communication Nick Downie told the Sun: ‘Our information comes from the history books.
‘The background could well be from Balmoral where Sir Edwin visited and Scotland has every right to adopt The Monarch of the Glen as its own.’
Fears were raised that the Monarch of the Glen could go abroad after it was put up for auction by drinks company Diageo.
Famous English paint Sir Edwin Landseer started the painting in Oxfordshire and finished it in Buckinghamshire in 1851
The piece had been on loan to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh for 17 years.
But Diageo gifted half the £8million market value last year and in March National Galleries of Scotland raised the other half.
The Heritage Lottery Fund gave £2.65million and the Scottish Government donated £100,000.
A public campaign then raised £266,000 and the famous painting was ‘bought for the nation’ by the National Galleries of Scotland.
The stag is an image of Scottishness that is recognised around the world and is used on Dewars and then Glenfiddich whiskies.