James Livingstone was an old soldier, said to have fought at the battle of Fontenoy (1745); he secured a position as Haddington Town Piper, one of the town officers. This painting is one of the few detailed illustrations of such a functionary.
This is a gilt wood and plaster framed oil on canvas. The subject is the upper body of a man wearing a jacket and Highland bonnet, carrying lowland pipes under his arm. 1907 auction note on the reverse.
In the eighteenth century most Scottish lowland towns employed both a piper and drummer. Both had the duty of patrolling the streets whilst playing to rouse the townsfolk in the morning (at 4am) and at 8 pm to signal a reasonable time for going to bed. The practice fell away as watches and clocks became more widespread.
Acquisition Number - 2000.293