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TITLE
Illustration of a Highland Gentleman/Piper in full dress
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_1999_116_431
PLACENAME
unidentified
PERIOD
1850s
SOURCE
Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)
ASSET ID
11391
KEYWORDS
highland dress
piping
MacCrimmon Pipers
Illustration of a Highland Gentleman/Piper in full dress

In the aftermath of the last Jacobite Rebellion a series of Acts of Parliament launched an assault on the culture of Gaeldom including the proscription of Highland dress and the playing of pipes.

The form of Highland dress has always owed much to the army and it was the Highland regiments which kept the kilt and the tartan alive until, in 1782, their use was once more permitted. Before that time, Scots were only permitted to wear any 'tartanry', if they joined the British Armed Services. Pipers were permitted to wear their kilt, but usually in a Regimental color.

The kilt itself in its original form was a very basic garment which required neither tailoring nor the frequent replacement which a pair of breeches needed. The tartan cloth forming a piece of material some two metres in width by four or five metres in length. This was known variously as the Breacan, the Feileadh Bhreacain and the Feileadh Mor - the big kilt, usually referrred to in English as the belted plaid.

The belted plaid had many advantages in the Highland climate and terrain. It allowed freedom of movement, it was warm, the upper half could provide a voluminous cloak against the weather, it dried out quickly and with much less discomfort than trousers and, if required, it could, by undoing the belt, provide a very adequate overnight blanket. The tightly woven wool proved almost completely waterproof, something the lose woven wool of today is not. When complete freedom of action was required in battle it was easily discarded, and one famous Highland clan battle, that between the Frasers the MacDonalds and Camerons in 1544, is known as Blar-na-Leine, which can be translated as 'Field of the Shirts'.

The bagpipes are thought to have been used in ancient Egypt. The origins of the pipes in Scotland is unclear. It had been suggested that they were a Roman import. Others have claimed that the instrument came from Ireland as a result of colonisation. The original pipes in Scotland had only a single drone. The second drone was added in the mid to late 1500s. The third drone, or the 'great drone', came into use early in the 1700s.

Beginning with Iain Odhar, who lived in the mid-16th century, the MacCrimmon family was responsible for elevating Highland pipe music to new heights. This music is called piobaireachd (pronounced piobroch).

Clan pipers' titles were mostly hereditary and held in much esteem. The best known were the MacCrimmons, pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan; the MacAuthurs, pipers to MacDonald of the Isles; the MacKays, pipers to the MacKenzie; the Rankins, pipers to MacLean of Duart


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Illustration of a Highland Gentleman/Piper in full dress

1850s

highland dress; piping; MacCrimmon Pipers

Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)

Joseph Cook Collection

In the aftermath of the last Jacobite Rebellion a series of Acts of Parliament launched an assault on the culture of Gaeldom including the proscription of Highland dress and the playing of pipes.<br /> <br /> The form of Highland dress has always owed much to the army and it was the Highland regiments which kept the kilt and the tartan alive until, in 1782, their use was once more permitted. Before that time, Scots were only permitted to wear any 'tartanry', if they joined the British Armed Services. Pipers were permitted to wear their kilt, but usually in a Regimental color.<br /> <br /> The kilt itself in its original form was a very basic garment which required neither tailoring nor the frequent replacement which a pair of breeches needed. The tartan cloth forming a piece of material some two metres in width by four or five metres in length. This was known variously as the Breacan, the Feileadh Bhreacain and the Feileadh Mor - the big kilt, usually referrred to in English as the belted plaid.<br /> <br /> The belted plaid had many advantages in the Highland climate and terrain. It allowed freedom of movement, it was warm, the upper half could provide a voluminous cloak against the weather, it dried out quickly and with much less discomfort than trousers and, if required, it could, by undoing the belt, provide a very adequate overnight blanket. The tightly woven wool proved almost completely waterproof, something the lose woven wool of today is not. When complete freedom of action was required in battle it was easily discarded, and one famous Highland clan battle, that between the Frasers the MacDonalds and Camerons in 1544, is known as Blar-na-Leine, which can be translated as 'Field of the Shirts'.<br /> <br /> The bagpipes are thought to have been used in ancient Egypt. The origins of the pipes in Scotland is unclear. It had been suggested that they were a Roman import. Others have claimed that the instrument came from Ireland as a result of colonisation. The original pipes in Scotland had only a single drone. The second drone was added in the mid to late 1500s. The third drone, or the 'great drone', came into use early in the 1700s.<br /> <br /> Beginning with Iain Odhar, who lived in the mid-16th century, the MacCrimmon family was responsible for elevating Highland pipe music to new heights. This music is called piobaireachd (pronounced piobroch).<br /> <br /> Clan pipers' titles were mostly hereditary and held in much esteem. The best known were the MacCrimmons, pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan; the MacAuthurs, pipers to MacDonald of the Isles; the MacKays, pipers to the MacKenzie; the Rankins, pipers to MacLean of Duart <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email the<br /> <a href="mailto: photographic.archive@highlifehighland.com">Highland Photographic Archive</a> quoting the External ID.