A recent article in the ‘History Scotland’ magazine (May/ June 2012) revealed a surprising piper image. It appears as an ornament to a map of the town and harbour of Burntisland, Fife, prepared in 1745 to accompany a request for funds to rebuild the harbour, made to the government in London. At that time the harbour was said to be the finest between London and Orkney.
The piper, however, is an unlikely visitor, a player of the zampogna, a bagpipe from what was then the Kingdom of Naples, central and southern Italy. Exactly what he is doing in this situation remains unclear. The image itself however can be identified as a ‘borrowing’ from a famous print, first made by Jacques Dumont, dated by the British Museum as 1739. The position of the right leg is the result of the omission from this image of the ‘marionette a planchette’ puppets attached to the knee of the original piper.
The fact that this map was produced only a few years after the original work from which the piper was taken shows a remarkable contact with the international print market, if not with any piping tradition then current in Fife.

By way of a ‘return visit’, here is an excerpt from a work entitled A journey from London to Genoa, through England, Portugal, Spain, and France. (Giuseppe Baretti, 1770). In the summer of 1760, an Italian gentleman is returning to his homeland from London; on board ship he meets a Scottish surgeon; in a letter he writes of his new friend:
“he plays, besides, on the bagpipe; an odd instrument I never saw in Italy. Our mountaineers indeed have the bagpipe, but different from his. They introduce the air into the bag by blowing continuously into a tube whilst they are playing; but he swells it by means of a bellows which he presses with his left elbow, while he is managing the flute with his fingers. A very good contrivance to spare one’s lungs!”

I think when he speaks of 'our mountaineers' he means the Italian mountains, that is, players of, among other pipes, the zampogna.