Pierre Martial Maximilien Guillon

Pierre Martial Maximilien Guillon (known as Max) was born in France on 6th May 1852 to Jean Victor Valentine Guillon and Anne Sophie Euphrosine Théolinde Guillon (nee Moreau.) The oldest of three children, he had one younger Brother, Valentin and one younger Sister, Marie.

In the 1860s, the family moved to Jersey and Max's Father worked as a merchant. Max can't be found on the 1861 census, but is listed on the 1871 census aged 19 and working as an agent's clerk.

Sometime after 1871, Max relocated to England and set himself up as a photographer. Some of his earliest photographs were taken in the 1870s in Brighton, probably on a plate camera.

In 1876, Max was living in Brighton with a woman named Harriett Susan Brake, but there is no record of their marriage. They had two children, Henriette Marie Louise Guillon (1876) and Alice Harriett Guillon (1877). Henriette died in 1876 and not long after Alice was born, the couple split up. As far as we know, Max did not keep in touch with either Harriett or Alice.

Less than a year later on 10th March 1878, Max married Ellen Jane Archer in Islington, London. They had three children, Ellen Martha Elizabeth Guillon (1878), Florence Emily Louise Guillon (1880) and Henri Léopold Maximilien Guillon (1881). Florence took her own life in 1903 and Henri was killed in the First World War in 1914.

Max was an architectural photographer and as far as we know he never owned a portrait studio. David Simkin who has researched Max's photographic history in great detail explains, "Max Guillon was one of the few photographers in the Brighton & Hove area who concentrated on the production of architectural photographs or views of residences. Larger, more established studios often produced outdoor work, but studio portrait photography was the mainstay of their business. Max Guillon was unusual in that he produced photographs of residences almost exclusively and so far I have not found any studio portraits produced by him."

In 1894, Max settled in Thornton Heath, Croydon and is listed on the 1901 census as a photographer. He lived there for 46 years until his death in 1940 at the age of 87.

Studios/Work Addresses

19 Foundry Street, Brighton
54 Lewes Street, Brighton
4 Westbourne Mews, West Brighton
Westbourne Place, West Brighton
91 Oliphant Street, Queen's Park, Harrow Road, West London
10 Stanley Road, North London
2 Broughton Terrace, Thornton Heath, Croydon
5 Woodville Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon
7 Woodville Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon
25 Woodville Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon
39 Woodville Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon