Bagpipe chanter

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by Thomas Glen, Edinburgh, probably early 19th century

Postcard of Bagpipe chanter.
© National Museums Scotland

Bagpipe chanter

Highland bagpipe chanter, of cocus wood, mounted with an ivory sole, early 19th century, made by the firm of T.M. Glen and stamped 'NORTH BANK STREET / THOS. GLEN / EDINR' at the neck. There are three sets of possibly hemp bindings between D, E, F and G holes for a crack on the side of the chanter.

Thomas McBean Glen (1804-1873) was the founder of a notable firm of bagpipe makers in Edinburgh. He set up business as dealer, musical instrument and bagpipe repairer in the Cowgate in 1827. From 1833 he listed himself as 'pipe and flute maker' in the Edinburgh Directories, and made a range of woodwind instruments including flutes and clarinets. He is also credited with the invention of a type of Ophicleide. In 1836 he moved his premises to the more prestigious position of 2 North Bank Street and remained in business until 1866 when he was succeeded by his sons John and Robert. Many of his musical instrument products have survived including flutes, Highland bagpipes and small pipes. He also published a 'Tutor for the Highland 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: 000-000-579-699-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.LT 107
Date: Early 19th century (possible date of manufacture)
Material: Cocus wood, hemp and ivory
What: Chanter
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)
The Museum of Piping, Glasgow (place of display)
Thomas McBean Glen (manufacturer)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh, North Bank Street (place of manufacture)
Description: Chanter, cracked, of cocus wood mounted with an ivory sole and bound with hemp.
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