Set of Highland bagpipes

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made by J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, c. 1880

Postcard of Set of Highland bagpipes.
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Set of Highland bagpipes

Set of Highland bagpipes made by J. and R. Glen of Edinburgh c. 1880. Chanter is marked twice 'J. & R. GLEN / EDINBURGH'. Bass drone has three joints. The two tenor drones have two joints each. Made of laburnum, polished and turned with simple combing decoration, mounted with horn. Blowstick is missing the mouthpiece. Sheepskin bag and plain green wool cover with fringes and green tuning cord. This set of pipes has been made in an imaginatively archaic style with native materials, the drone tops turned with pronounced bells and the chanter given a shawm-like appearance; they were probably the work of Robert Glen (1835 -1911).

John and Robert Glen were the proprietors of a bagpipe-making and musical instrument repair business in Edinburgh in the late 19th century. The business was founded in 1827 in the Cowgate, moving later to North Bank Street, Edinburgh, by their father, Thomas McBean Glen (1804-1873), who in 1833 described himself in the business directories of the city as 'pipe and flute maker'. His sons, John (1833-1904) and Robert (1835-1911), took over the business in 1866. In 1911, the premises moved to 497 Lawnmarket where it survived as 'J & R Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers' until 1978.

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.

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Online ID: 000-000-580-037-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  RS 1835
Date: c.1880 (date of manufacture)
Material: Laburnum, horn, sheepskin and wool
Dimensions: Chanter 363 mm L; bass drone 706 mm L; tenor drones 355 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)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (place of manufacture)
Description: Set of Highland bagpipes made of laburnum mounted with horn and having a sheepskin bag with a green wool cover.
  • 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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