Set of Highland bagpipes or Lovat Reel Pipes

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probably by Alexander Glen, Edinburgh, circa 1850

Postcard of Set of Highland bagpipes or Lovat Reel Pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of Highland bagpipes or Lovat Reel Pipes

Set of Highland bagpipes, missing its chanter, probably made by Alexander Glen of Edinburgh about 1850. This smaller scale Highland bagpipe was usually known as the 'Lovat Reel Pipe'.

Alexander Glen (1801-1873) was a founder member of the Glen bagpipe making family or 'dynasty' in Edinburgh. He was born in Inverkeithing, Fife, and was an older brother of Thomas McBean Glen (1804-1873). He is known to have had premises in West Register Street and Saint Andrew Square from 1846 until 1869, and was making a variety of bagpipes as an advertisement of 1847 shows. These were mainly different sizes of Highland bagpipe but he included 'Union or Lowcountry pipes of all descriptions made to order'. He began publishing bagpipe music with a Complete Tutor for the Highland Bagpipe in 1840 and The Piper's Assistant in 1843 with Angus Mackay.

The Highland bagpipe of Scotland is a universally recognised musical instrument but historically, in the last 2-300 years, only one in a variety of bagpipes growing out of the rich piping and musical traditions of the British Isles. Though its precise origins are still obscure, it seemed to arrive in the Highlands in the 15th or 16th centuries and was adopted as the principal musical instrument after the clarsach of the Gaelic clans. By the late 18th century, the Highland bagpipe had emerged in more of less fixed form with chanter and three drones, the style and embellishment becoming a matter of fashion as well as standardisation with a uniformity being required for band playing and competition. By the early 19th century professional bagpipe makers were offering different sizes of Highland bagpipe such as 'Full-size', 'Half-size', 'Reel' or 'Lovat Reel Pipe' and Miniature.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-682-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.1995.802
Date: c.1850 (date of manufacture)
What: Highland bagpipes
Who: Alexander Glen (manufacturer)
The Museum of Piping, Glasgow (place of display)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (place of manufacture)
Description: Set of Highland bagpipes or Lovat Reel Pipe.
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