Bagpipe chanter for a set of Lowland Scottish bagpipes

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by Donald MacDonald, Edinburgh, early 19th century

Postcard of Bagpipe chanter for a set of Lowland Scottish bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Bagpipe chanter for a set of Lowland Scottish bagpipes

Bagpipe chanter for a set of Lowland Scottish bagpipes by Donald MacDonald of Edinburgh, early 19th century. Cocus wood, ivory mounted; marked 'McDONALD / EDINR.' twice. MacDonald worked in Castlehill, Edinburgh. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

Donald MacDonald was one of the most prominent of the early bagpipe makers, with a business in Edinburgh from about 1800 until 1840. He came from a Skye family, the son of John MacDonald of Glenhinnisdale in Trotternish. He was an expert piper and won first prize at the Edinburgh Competition in 1817. He made a variety of instruments including the Great Highland Bagpipe and Scottish bellows-blown small pipes. He was listed in the Edinburgh Post Office Directory for 1824-1825 as 'Pipemaker to the Highland Society of London' at 567 Lawnmarket and this meant that he was making prize bagpipes to be presented as prizes at the annual competitions sponsored by the Highland Society.

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: 000-000-579-890-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.692
Date: Early 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Cocus wood and ivory
Dimensions: 365 mm L
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Donald MacDonald (manufacturer)
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, Castlehill (place of manufacture)
Description: Cocus wood and ivory mounted Lowland Scottish bagpipe chanter.
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