Set of Highland bagpipes

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by Thomas Glen, Edinburgh, c. 1860

Postcard of Set of Highland bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of Highland bagpipes

Set of Highland bagpipes by Thomas Glen of Edinburgh, c. 1860, made entirely of brass. Chanter with brased seam running the length of the chanter, mounted with German silver sole. Engraved overall with the thistle motif and with 'THOMAS GLEN / MAKER / 2 NORTH BANK STREET / EDINBURGH' twice on the chanter and also on the chanter stock. Sheepskin bag with tartan cover. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

This set of Highland bagpipes was said to have been part of an order from an Indian Maharajah who wanted Highland Bagpipes that would not be susceptible to tropical heat or insect damage. Three sets were made and two were despatched to India; one set was retained in Edinburgh and was kept in Glen's shop. This set hung in the window of J. and R. Glen's shop until it closed.

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: 000-000-579-949-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.742
Date: c.1860 (date of manufacture)
Material: Brass, silver, sheepskin and tartan
Dimensions: Chanter 365 mm L; bass drone 695 mm L; tenor drones 345 mm L
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)
Thomas Glen (manufacturer)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (place of manufacture)
Event: Festival of Flanders Exhibition, 1968
Description: Brass and silver mounted set of Highland bagpipes with sheepskin bag with tartan cover.
  • Festival of Flanders Exhibition Catalogue. 1968, No. 114b.
  • Baines, Anthony,. Bagpipes. Occaisonal Paper on Technology 9, Oxford University Press, 1973. 
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
  • Cheape, Hugh,. A Checklist of Bagpipes in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Reid School of Music, 1983, p. 19.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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