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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Payne family

1888-1889
A. Flegeltaub

albumen photograph on cabinet card (support: 16.4 cm x 10.5 cm, image: 14.6 cm x 9.5 cm)

The Payne Family was one of the longest running and most successful of the early Australian handbell groups. Debuting in Ballarat in late 1886, they filled halls and theatres across Victoria with their variety performances, the group’s appeal owing in part to their being a genuine and entire family. The original ensemble consisted of father William Payne senior, a tenor and director of the group; son William J Payne, a baritone and flautist ‘of more than average excellence’; eldest daughter Lizzie, a violinist; and younger daughters Maud and Nellie. Maud was a contralto vocalist, pianist and violinist, and Nellie was a ‘serviceable’ violinist with light soprano voice ‘of pleasing quality’. Renowned for their singing, the family’s performances also included handbells and musical glasses. Nellie Payne died in Moonta, South Australia in June 1891. William senior died a year later. His widow took over as director and led the group on a tour of Victoria and Tasmania. By this time they were known as the ‘Payne-Steele Bellringers’ (Lizzie Payne had married one Ralph Steele-Wareham in early 1892) under which name they performed until 1907.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of John McPhee 2018

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

A. Flegeltaub

William Payne (age 43 in 1888)

William J. Payne

Lizzie Payne

Maude Payne

Nellie Payne (age 16 in 1888)

Donated by

John McPhee (4 portraits)

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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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