Claims that one of Scotland's most famous paintings may have been the work of a Frenchman have been dismissed as "absolute rubbish".
The painting may be the work of a Frenchman
The Rev Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch has been assumed for centuries to be by Sir Henry Raeburn, one of the country's greatest artists.
But experts at the National Galleries of Scotland now believe it could be by French painter Henri-Pierre Danloux.
Liberal Democrat MSP Jamie Stone said it was "definitely" a Raeburn.
Research by Stephen Lloyd, a senior curator at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, attributes the painting to Danloux, a French refugee court painter.
Danloux often stayed in Edinburgh in the 1790s, during the French Revolution, when the painting is believed to have been created.
Michael Clarke, director of the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, said he now had an open mind about the work.
He said: "It is all circumstantial evidence but that is the infuriating and fascinating thing.
"Raeburn never painted on this scale and a French painter is more probable to use these canvases.
"We are going to stick with the attribution for now, but all attributions are up for grabs.
"Even if it wasn't painted by Raeburn, I don't think it makes the subject any less Scottish. Personally, I am wavering. I can persuade myself either way."
But Liberal Democrat MSP Jamie Stone rejected Lloyd's theory.
He said: "I think it's absolute rubbish. Even the background - the famous, wonderful, wintry light - is definitely Sir Henry Raeburn.
"It is a Scottish icon. Let's say I'm wrong, it will remain a much loved and absolutely favourite Scottish picture."
The work, bought for Scotland in 1949 from Christie's in London for £525, is smaller than other Raeburns and has an unusual composition.
Mr Lloyd will outline his research at a lecture entitled Who Painted the Skating Minister? at the new Weston Link of the National Gallery on 29 March.
The late Scottish Parliament architect Enric Miralles was said to have been very fond of the painting.
It is thought that he may have based the design of Holyrood's controversial windows on the shape of the skating minister.
The artwork was used on Presiding Officer George Reid's Christmas cards last year.