Set of Union or Pastoral bagpipes presented by Lewis F. Innes, Esq. to Robert Millar, 1830

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made by Robert Reid, North Shields

Postcard of Set of Union or Pastoral bagpipes presented by Lewis F. Innes, Esq. to Robert Millar, 1830.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of Union or Pastoral bagpipes presented by Lewis F. Innes, Esq. to Robert Millar, 1830

Set of presentation Union pipes by Robert Reid (1784-1837) of North Shields, blackwood, ebony and other hardwoods, ivory and silver mounted, bellows-blown, the chanter, length 14 inches, is in the key of D and has eight keys, the six drones, basses, tenors and baritones, are set in a common stock for playing either in D or in G and with a changeover lever to switch between the two sets of drones, the bass drones incorporating three drilled bores to minimise their standing length; there are two regulators, tenor with five keys and baritone with four keys; the stock is mounted with an heraldic shield engraved with: 'PRESENTED BY / LEWIS F INNES ESQ OF BALLOGIE / TO / MR R MILLAR, MUSICIAN, 1830'. Robert Millar (1789-1865) was a talented musician and teacher in Montrose. The National Museums of Scotland purchased this unique bagpipe at Sotheby's on 5 March 1984, securing it with a grant from the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society.

The Union bagpipe, often now referred to as the Uilleann pipe, is the type of instrument which is now associated principally with the piping tradition of Ireland. It is a sophisticated and complex instrument with a complicated history. It derives from a probable prototype of the early 18th century, in a bellows-blown bagpipe developed for use in chamber music and operatic performance. It would have been developed probably to provide an 'indoor' bagpipe to play with flute, violin and 'cello, and to increase the bagpipe's musical range (and appeal). It certainly became fashionable with the 'pastoral operas' of John Gay such as pre-eminently the Beggar's Opera (1728). It was then often referred to as the 'Pastoral Bagpipe'.

The chanter, designed to play in E Flat or D, had a long, narrow conical bore with a 'foot joint' extension, allowing the instrument to be overblown into a second octave. The two, three or even four drones set in a common stock, with the bass drone looped back on itself to reduce the standing length, included bass and tenor or bass, tenor and baritone. Regulators, with four or five keys, could provide chordal accompaniment to the chanter and were added to the instrument in the second half of the 18th century. Pastoral bagpipes were often masterpieces of the bagpipe maker's art and continued to be made into the 19th century, though fewer and fewer pipers were inclined to play them.

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Online ID: 000-000-579-667-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.1995.791 (1)
Date: 1830 (date of presentation)
Material: Blackwood, ebony, other hardwoods, silver and ivory
Dimensions: Chanter 356 mm L
What: Set of Union pipes
Who: Lewis F. Innes, Esq. (presenter)
Robert Millar (recipient)
Robert Reid (manufacturer)
The Museum of Piping, Glasgow (place of display)
Where: England, North Shields (place of manufacture)
Scotland, Ballogie (residence of presenter)
Scotland, Monthrose (residence of recipient)
Description: Set of Union pipes of blackwood, ebony and other hardwoods mounted with silver and ivory.
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