The Female Artist from Carleton Place That Never Went Viral



All Photos and information from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Annie Elexey Duff was born in Carleton Place in 1871. Her early life was spent at “Oreno Villa”, the family homestead at Duff’s Bay on the 11th Concession of Beckwith. The Duff family was the last family to have logging rights on the Mississippi. She studied painting and fashion design in New York City in the late 1890’s and spent time working there for Vogue Magazine.

For reasons unknown she returned home to live with her sister Denysa. Annie and spent her time painting and taking photographs. Her work depicts rural life in Ontario and includes scenic landscapes, scenes of hunting, camping, family life and wildlife. She was known for hiding in greenery with food in her hands to order to attract the birds!  I had no idea she took photographs too, and she worked at the photographic firm of S.J. Jarvis in Ottawa during the last decade of the 19th century. She was an eccentric woman with long red hair and loved wearing her favourite purple dress.  I loved the fact that she wore a fur stole no matter how warm it was outside.


No one can recall how much of her work sold. When her parents died the girls were left the family homestead.  The National Gallery of Canada holds much of Annie’s original works and she is credited as the first Canadian female to portray maternity in “Woman by the Sea”. In 1976, the National Gallery of Canada purchased Duff’s Temptation, Sin, and it’s Antidote (Adam and Eve) and Woman by the Sea to add to its Canadian collection. Most of Duff’s works remain in private collections and the majority of her paintings and photographs captured rural life in Ontario at the turn of the 20th century.  Anna died in 1956.


DUFF Annie Elexey x b.1873 – Carleton Place, ON d.1956 – Photo from Annie Duff Website

Annie Duff website

Photos and info from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Lost Ottawa
June 2, 2016  · 

Lover’s Walk around Parliament Hill (about half way up the cliff from the River). Sketched by Annie Duff from Beckwith Township, who studied art at Ottawa’s Coligny College beginning in 1890.

If you are looking for fine summer outing, the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum is having an exhibit of the art and photographs of Annie Duff this summer.

The CP&BM says that: “After graduation Annie worked at Topley’s Photography Studio on Sparks Street, and later went to New York City where she worked as an illustrator for Vogue Magazine.

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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