Bellows for a set of Uilleann bagpipes

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20th century

Postcard of Bellows for a set of Uilleann bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Bellows for a set of Uilleann bagpipes

Set of bellows for a set of Uilleann pipes, 20th century. Made of beech, working with internal hinge; outlet pipe on inner board or clapper includes stock and connecting piece turned with combing decoration. Leather and green plain weave cover glued to the outer edges of the two clappers and finished with brass strips pinned over the edges. Inner board furnished with two metal loops for a waist belt. Outer board fitted with metal fixings front and back for an arm strap. Probably associated with the set of drones and regulators K.2003.737.

The Irish bagpipe, known today as the Uilleann pipes was developed by bagpipe makers in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It was based on the earlier Pastoral and Union Pipes which were used in the pastoral dramas and ballad operas of the 18th century. In this form, it was always a bellows-blown instrument and originally had a long or 'flat' chanter and two drones in a common stock. The tonal range could be extended for orchestral performance by cross-fingering and overblowing. In the late 18th century, keys were added to the chanter to increase the melodic range and regulators were added to the drones to provide chordal accompaniment to the chanter.

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: 000-000-579-943-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.739
Date: 20th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Leather, beech and brass
Dimensions: 272 mm approx L x 162 mm approx W
What: Bellows for a set of Uilleann pipes
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Description: Bellows for a set of Uilleann pipes made of leather and green plain weave cover, beech and brass.
  • Cheape, Hugh,. A Checklist of Bagpipes in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Reid School of Music, 1983, p. 18.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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