Only the ribs of this lute are original, and they were made by Laux Maller, who worked between 1518 and 1552 in Bologna. He was perhaps the greatest maker of lutes of his day. He worked in partnership with his son Sigismund, and like so many fellow luthiers based in Italy, he was of German origin. Owners of his lutes included the Fuggers of Augsburg (Germany), bankers to the Holy Roman Emperor, and later King Charles I of England, who paid as much as £100 for his.
As late as 1727 Maller was haled by E.G.Baron of Nuremberg as 'without doubt one of the oldest and best masters'. Owing to its size, this instrument is thought to have been tuned three semitones below the standard tuning (i.e. E instead of G) and to have played in an ensemble rather than solo. The lute was made of maple, which is an excellent tone-wood and considerably cheaper and more functional than ivory. Given this choice of material, it is likely that the lute was made for a professional rather than princely player.