Drone stock for a set of Union bagpipes

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late 18th or early 19th century

Postcard of Drone stock for a set of Union bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Drone stock for a set of Union bagpipes

Drone stock for a set of Union bagpipes, late 18th or early 19th century in date. Made of hardwood mounted with brass sleeve. Drilled, possibly for three drones and two Regulators. The barrel is chambered out and the baritone drone lower joint is still in place. A fragment of the skin bag and the cord tie also remain. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

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'.

This piece comes from the Glen and Ross Collection of musical instruments which were preserved in the shop of 'J & R Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers' until it closed about 1978. This was the business founded in 1827 by Thomas McBean Glen in the Cowgate in Edinburgh, dealing in and repairing musical instruments. His brother, Alexander Glen, specialized in bagpipe-making and was succeeded by his son David. Thomas' sons, John and Robert Glen, succeeding to the business in 1866, probably did most to collect instruments and their antiquarian interests were carried on by Andrew Ross who acquired the business from the Glens in 1947. The National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland purchased the bagpipe collections from the family in 1983.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-783-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2002.1184 (1)
Date: Late 18th - early 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Hardwood and brass
Dimensions: Overall 315 mm L; drone stock 195 mm L x 57 mm Dia; baritone drone lower joint 162 mm L
What: Drone stock
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers (manufacturers and collectors of musical instruments)
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Description: Drone stock of hardwood mounted with a brass sleeve for a set of Union bagpipes.
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