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Favourite Artefacts | Jim Patterson


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The Portrait of Piper Donald Bain

My favourite object in the collection is a portrait of piper Donald Bain. The portrait itself is not on display but is held in store in the archive. I became aware of the portrait when one day an lady from Glasgow, accompanied by members of her family, came and bought tickets to tour the museum. She was offered a tour, but said she knew exactly what she was going to show her family the portrait of her ancestor Donald Bain, the piper of Alma. I had no knowledge, but did not comment as the lady told me her family had donated the portrait to the museum and before donation, the portrait had hung in her bedroom when she was a child. A short time after entry, the lady came back to the front desk saying she could not find it. I contacted Richard, our archivist, who I knew was in the archive and a short time later he contacted me to say he had located the portrait and to bring the family up to view it. I was privileged to be present at this time and will never forget the emotion as they viewed their ancestor’s portrait. This was a warrior. He piped the Highland Brigade into the Battle of Alma, where the brigade defeated three Russian divisions. He was also the piper who piped the brigade at the relief of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. Donald Bain was a native of Thurso, and is buried, I believe, in the eastern cemetery in Dundee.

Jim Patterson | Museum Volunteer

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