Alexander Glen circa 1860, ebony, marine ivory
SOLD – This set came through the shop in 2018 and found its way back to me, as many sets do after some years of use. The description below was written then. The photos are new and the pipes were tested anew.
“Alexander Glen began making pipes in Edinburgh around 1835 and continued until his death in 1873. His son David was perhaps the most famous Glen in this pipemaking dynasty that spanned more than 120 years, but Alex set the original standard for craftsmanship.
“This remarkable set came to me almost complete, lacking only its blowpipe. The wood is ebony and the mounts are marine ivory — walrus — which was used widely in pipemaking during the 19th century. The pipes display the narrow profiles and mounts typical of Edinburgh pipemakers during this period.
“Unfortunately, the blowpipe stock and one tenor stock were cracked badly enough that it was best to make blackwood replicas. The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are poly-lined, with the projecting mount on the blowstick coming from an orphan tenor bottom in my collection that matched very well. A number of hairline cracks in the drone pieces were invisible whipped and will not recur. It would appear that one of the tenor bushings may have been replaced at some point in the distant past. The pipes have been completely refinished (2018).”
The tone was sonorous, rich and steady, slightly fuller in sound than son David’s pipes.
This is a lovely piece of antique history as well as a superb musical instrument.