William Duffus (c.1858-?)

William Duffus was a photographer and artist active in Huddersfield in the 1880s.


He was born in Scotland circa 1858 and was the older brother of photographer John Duffus.

In May 1884, the following notice appeared in the Huddersfield Chronicle:


MR. DUFFUS (late S.S. Priestley) begs to inform the Gentry and Others that he is prepared to undertake PHOTOGRAPHY IN ALL ITS BRANCHES, the Studio being newly fitted out with appropriate Scenic Effects for Spring and Summer Costumes, &c. Sitters may be fully assured that for Artistic Lighting and Posing he will give the highest satisfactions.

NOTE. Parties can be PHOTOGRAPHED at their own Residences in Family Groups or otherwise on the shortest notice.


Appointments made by letter, telegram, or at the STUDIO, 28 RAMSDEN STREET, HUDDERSFIELD.

Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Aug/1885)

A fire at his studio in 1885 led to him posting a notice of "sincere thanks" to the Huddersfield Fire Brigade in the Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Nov/1885). It seems likely this was when he moved his studio to 26 Queen Street. At some point, William's brother John joined him and some portraits survive crediting "J. Duffus [of] 26 Queen St., Huddersfield".

In the 1886 election, it was reported that Duffus had been hired to project the outcome of the votes onto a screen, "with the aid of the limelight", so that "people in front of the Borough Offices could see them." Shortly after 11pm, it was announced that "Mr William Summers had been elected as the representative for Huddersfield in the British House of Commons."[1]

In August 1886, the bandmaster of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the West Riding Regiment retired and was presented with two oil paintings by Mr. W. Duffus of Queen Street.[2]

In November 1888, notices were posted that the "business at present carried on by Mr. William Duffus" was to be sold for immediate possession.[3]

In February 1892, a portrait of the late Alderman John Varley that had been painted by William Duffus was displayed at the showrooms of George Weston on John William Street. The Huddersfield Chronicle noted that "Duffus, who at one time had a studio in Queen Street, but has since gone out to South Africa."[4]

It is believed that William travelled to South Africa with his brother John where they formed Duffus Bros. of of Cape Town and Johannesburg, but declared bankruptcy in 1912. A subsequent company formed by William and Percy Missen Clark was eventually wound up in 1921.[5]

Curiously, their studio at Johannesburg was named "Burlington House", although it is not known if they chose the name and, if so, if they named it after John Edward Shaw's noted photographic studio at Burlington House, Huddersfield.

It is uncertain what happened to William after 1921, but John took up farming alongside photography.[6]

Notes and References

  1. "The Representation of the Borough" in Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Jul/1886).
  2. "Presentation to Ex-Bandmaster Wood" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (23/Aug/1886).
  3. "Sales by Private Contract" in Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Nov/1888).
  4. Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Feb/1892).
  5. Wikipedia Commons: Duffus Brothers
  6. DUFFUS BROS. of Cape Town & Johannesburg (PDF)

William Duffus (c.1858-?)


People | Photographers
This page was last modified on 22 December 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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