UNDER-threat masterpiece Monarch of the Glen is to remain in Scotland thanks to “overwhelming” public support.

Art lovers chipped in £266,000 for the purchase of the iconic artwork, which has been saved for the nation for £4 million in a cut price deal with sellers Diageo.

The drinks firm decided to sell the piece because it has has “no direct link” to the company’s business or brands and offered the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) the chance to acquire it for half of its estimated market value.

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Yesterday NGS director general Sir John Leighton revealed Edwin Landseer’s painting, known to millions around the world, will continue to hang in Edinburgh.

A tour of local galleries around Scotland is also planned.

He said: “We are thrilled that we have been able to secure this iconic work for the national collection.

“The enormous support from the public has been incredible with donations coming from all over the world and from the length and breadth of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. Your gift has helped to ensure that this magnificent work will be enjoyed by millions of people for generations to come.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund contributed £2.5m to the appeal, with further funds given by the Art Fund, the Scottish Government and private trusts and foundations.

Diageo said it was “very happy” with the result, while Dame Seona Reid of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen portrays a quintessentially Scottish scene but has a global reach.

“With the help of National Lottery players from across the UK, we are pleased to play a major role in securing it a permanent home at the National Galleries of Scotland.

“The public’s affection for Monarch of the Glen has been reflected in the success of the recent fundraising campaign. Everyone involved should feel proud of the role they are playing in safeguarding and sharing this fine and popular painting.”