Practice chanter

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by William Gunn, George Square, Glasgow, c. 1850

Postcard of Practice chanter.
© National Museums Scotland

Practice chanter

Practice chanter by William Gunn, George Square, Glasgow, c. 1850, shown taken apart in its two component pieces. Ebony, ivory mounted; marked 'W. GUNN / GLASGOW' on the chanter neck and three times randomly on the chanter top; blowpipe repaired with synthetic mouthpiece. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

William Gunn (1795 - 1867) was born in Kildonan, Scotland, and learned the trade of weaving. He began playing in the Highland Society's piping competitions, winning the 5th Prize in Edinburgh in 1824, having moved to Glasgow in about 1823. He set up business as a bagpipe maker about 1834 and, until 1850, he lived and worked at 48 Gallowgate in Glasgow. Latterly (until 1866), he lived and ran his business from 273 George Street. He died on 14 February 1867 aged 72.

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: 000-000-580-009-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.811 (2)
Date: c.1850 (date of manufacture)
Material: Ebony and ivory
Dimensions: 276 mm L; 464 mm L over chanter top or wind cap
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
William Gunn (manufacturer)
Where: Scotland, Glasgow, George Square (place of manufacture)
Description: Ebony and ivory mounted practice chanter.
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