Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes of ivory

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late 18th century

Postcard of Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes of ivory.
© National Museums Scotland

Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes of ivory

Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes of ivory, late 18th century, consisting only of chanter and drones. Closed chanter, chanter stock of bone, three drones each of two sections set in a common stock; bass drone plugged with piece of cork; drone stock plug of a hard wood; bellows and blowpipe stock missing. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

Small pipes are a small version of the bagpipe which has been made and played in Scotland but which has been most familiar in Britain in the form of the Northumbrian Pipes, a small, bellows-blown instrument with a keyed chanter and variable drone accompaniment. Both Northumbrian Pipes and the Scottish small pipes probably derive from a Continental bellows-blown bagpipe developed by wind-instrument makers in European cities in the 17th century for chamber music and operatic performance by professional musicians. Known as the musette in France, it became a fashionable instrument in the late 17th and 18th centuries for court and drawing room recital.

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: 000-000-580-019-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.819 (3)
Date: Late 18th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Ivory, bone, cork and hardwood
Dimensions: Bass drone 290 mm L; baritone drone 207 mm L; tenor drone 187 mm L
What: Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes
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)
Event: Royal Military Exhibition, 1890
Description: Drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes of ivory with chanter stock of bone.
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