Alexander or J&R Glen circa 1860, cocuswood drones, bone, ivory, imitation ivory
SOLD – This bagpipe came to me as an Alexander Glen, circa 1870. Alexander Glen was one of the seminal Edinburgh pipemakers of the mid-1800s, brother of Thomas MacBean Glen, another iconic Edinburgh maker, and father of David, who would take the business into the 20th century. They were part of a school of pipemakers that favoured very delicately turned instruments with narrow profiles and mounts. This set fits nicely into the Edinburgh school.
Alex Glen made pipes from 1833 until his death in 1872, when the company passed to David. John and Robert Glen ( J&R) were sons of Thomas MacBean Glen. They began making pipes in their father’s business the years around 1860. This set is thought to date from around this time. My consultations with the foremost Glen expert I know, Andreas Virnich-Hartmann, suggest that this is an early J&R Glen set, and not ruling out Thomas himself.
The instrument appears to have undergone a series of repairs over the years, with some of the original bone mounts being replaced as they were lost. Some of the replacement mounts are celluloid, some may be ivory, but suffice to say they are all excellent ivory substitutes. So while there are small inconsistencies in the mounts, the overall look and patina are quite attractive. The stocks are replacements in their entirety, mounted in very convincing imitation ivory. One hairline crack on a tenor top was discovered at the photo stage (see if you can find it) and has now been invisible whipped. The instrument has been stripped and refinished recently.
The tone of the drones with my Canning reeds was bold. The drones locked and there was a good blend with the chanter.