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Highland bagpipe chanter

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

Highland bagpipe chanter
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Highland bagpipe chanter by William Gunn, George Square, Glasgow, c. 1850. Cocus wood, mounted with ivory sole; marked 'W. GUNN / GLASGOW' three times. 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.

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