Piper to the Laird of Grant

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painted by Richard Waitt, 1714

Postcard of Piper to the Laird of Grant.
© National Museums Scotland

Piper to the Laird of Grant

Oil on canvas painting of the Piper to the Laird of Grant, painted by Richard Waitt in 1714. William Cumming (c. 1687 - c. 1723) belonged to a family of Strathspey musicians who served the Lairds of Grant for about 170 years through seven or more generations. They were an important part of the clan chieftain's traditional retinue and William Cumming is symbolically provided with a uniform of livery, tartan, the bratach or heraldic banner, and with the chieftain's head house of Castle Grant in the background.

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: 000-000-579-757-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.OD 69
Date: 1714 (date of manufacture)
Material: Canvas, oil
Dimensions: 2130 mm H x 1540 mm W
Who: Laird of Grant (Cumming was the Laird's piper)
Richard Waitt (artist)
William Cumming (depicted)
Where: Scotland, Moray, Granton-on-Spey, Castle Grant (depicted)
Description: Piper to the Laird of Grant.
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