Portrait understood to be James Livingstone, town piper of Haddington

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    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

    jameslivingstone44 and melcir.meri added this photo to their favorites.

    1. melcir.meri 70 months ago | reply

      Definitely a twinkle of musical glee in the eyes of this old gentleman! One cannot help but grin back, wondering what air he was contemplating piping, and to whom! The thought of piping the residents to and from their slumbers is certainly a surprise. No wonder he looks a little impish. An interesting vocation, probably.

    2. antonychammond 70 months ago | reply

      I love the idea of this old chap waking everyone up at 4am and piping them to bed at 8pm - wish he could be employed now to keep all today's drunken weekend revellers under control! Thanks for a fascinating insight into Scottish history....

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