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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Bill May

1976
Max Loudon

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.4 cm, image: 40.5 cm x 30.4 cm)

Bill May (1915-1993), luthier, completed an apprenticeship in cabinetmaking and taught woodwork before founding Mayton Stringed Instruments and Repairs in the early 1940s. His brother Reg soon joined him as a full time guitar maker, and the pair established the Maton Musical Instruments Company in 1946. Three years later they opened their first factory in Canterbury, Melbourne, where over the ensuing forty years they were to make more than 300 models of guitar and establish an international reputation. They expanded to Bayswater in 1989 and Box Hill in 2001. Maton Guitars, now directed by May's daughter Linda Kitchen, is still an entirely Australian-owned company. Having established Maton as Australia's longest running and most successful guitar manufacturer, and pioneering the use of many Australian wood species in guitar construction, Bill May is regarded by many Australian luthiers as the founding father of their industry.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Max Loudon

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Max Loudon

Bill May (age 61 in 1976)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Max Loudon (1 portrait)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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