Set of drones and blowpipe for a set of Highland bagpipes

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Scottish, 19th century

Postcard of Set of drones and blowpipe for a set of Highland bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of drones and blowpipe for a set of Highland bagpipes

Set of drones for a set of Highland bagpipes or 'Lovat Reel Pipes', Scottish, 19th century. Bass drone with three joints. Tenor drones with two joints each. Made of varnished light hardwood decorated with combing in sets of 6 widely spaced rings, mounted with ivory and white metal ferrules. Blowpipe mounted with a mouthpiece of synthetic material. Each drone top joint is missing the dtone top ring mount. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

The Highland bagpipe of Scotland is a universally recognised musical instrument but historically, in the last 2-300 years, only one in a variety of bagpipes growing out of the rich piping and musical traditions of the British Isles. Though its precise origins are still obscure, it seemed to arrive in the Highlands in the 15th or 16th centuries and was adopted as the principal musical instrument after the clarsach of the Gaelic clans. By the late 18th century, the Highland bagpipe had emerged in more of less fixed form with chanter and three drones, the style and embellishment becoming a matter of fashion as well as standardisation with a uniformity being required for band playing and competition. By the early 19th century professional bagpipe makers were offering different sizes of Highland bagpipe such as 'Full-size', 'Half-size', 'Reel' or 'Lovat Reel Pipe' and Miniature.

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: 000-000-579-979-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.773
Date: 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Light hardwood, varnish, ivory, metal and synthetic material
Dimensions: Bass drone 501 mm L; tenor drones 275 mm L; blowpipe 283 mm L
What: Set of drones for a set of Highland bagpipes
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 (place of manufacture)
Description: Set of drones for a set of Highland bagpipes made of varnished light hardwood mounted with ivory and white metal ferrules and blowpipe mouthpiece of synthetic material.
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