MacDonald Gill, or ‘Max’ as he was known to family and friends, was one of the foremost graphic artists of the early twentieth century. Famed for his pictorial maps, he was also known for book illustration, church murals, architecture, and lettering. His work influenced many graphic artists in his own time and cartographers today consider him as a pioneer in the art of pictorial map making.
After his death in 1947 his name and work were all but forgotten. This happened partly because the poster maps that brought Max success were ephemeral items, produced for publicity purposes rather than lasting artworks. Also, in the post-World War Two era – a time when the public were embracing the future and a new modernity – many of the poster images were an unwelcome reminder of a bygone age that included the Depression, the War, and the Empire.