Vintage Set of Pipes For Sale

Brian MacDonald, son of double Gold Medallist, composer and teacher William M. MacDonald, is offering an historic set of pipes which once belonged to his father.

Brian writes: The bagpipes, might have been made by Thow and are pre-1900 as they were originally presented to Colour Sergeant (later Captain) W.H. MacDonald of Kingussie by the officers of the Badenoch Co. 1st Volunteer Battalion Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in April 1900.

The silver plaque stating the above, is on the pipe box. The blowstick is a later addition as is the tartan bag cover, tassels and Alexander Glen silver soled pipe chanter. The engraved silver ring on the blowstick stock was probably added later. Otherwise everything else is original.


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The pipes were given to my father, the late William M. MacDonald (Inverness), by Captain MacDonald when he had lessons with him in Kingussie, Badenoch, and to this end, my father composed a reel for him. It was named after Captain MacDonald’s home ‘Fraoch Eilean’ and it is published in my father’s recently issued book of pipe music:

The pipes have been restored and have a beautiful, melodic sound. I’m pretty sure, but I’m not an expert, that the wood is African blackwood and the projecting mounts are certainly ivory.

They were in bits in the box when I found them after dad passed away and I had them fully restored by a man by the name of Henry Doe in Herefordshire, a professional woodwind instrument repairer. There are no cracks otherwise Henry would have told me.

Dad didn’t play them as far as I’m aware but he did tell me about them and where he acquired them. He had his own set of pipes he competed with and, although he offered them to me when he was in his 80s, but, at the time, I turned them down and he sold them to Sir Patrick Grant.

The full restoration was done by Henry around eight years ago including the wood having had a period of settlement, a new synthetic bag tied in, after which I played them occasionally along with another two sets in my possession. 

Henry reckoned they were Thow as did Hugh Cheape, the former bagpipe expert at the National Museums of Scotland. 

The only hallmarking is on the added ferrule on the blowstick stock. The original silver ferrules are not hallmarked.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on +44 (0) 7980 999114 or rugmac50@hotmail.com for any further enquiries. Price on application.


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