Anne Langton - Gentlewoman, Pioneer Settler and Artist: Niagara, Ottawa, Toronto (1870s, 1880s) - Page Banner

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Following John's departure from office in 1878, the Langtons chose to retire to Toronto.

Dissatisfied with her attempt to depict Niagara, on first viewing it in 1837 - "my presumptuous representation," she called it - Langton went on to produce more successful later versions. Here, she accomplishes a highly skilful rendering. This pair of later Niagara views by Langton forms an interesting contrast to the earlier sketches that she executed in 1837 and in the 1850s.

[Niagara Falls] Horshoe [Fall] from American side, 1873
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[Niagara Falls] Horseshoe [Fall] from American side, 1873
Anne Langton
Watercolour
Reference Code: F 1077-9-1-23-2
Archives of Ontario, I0008477

[Niagara Falls] from American side, 1873
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[Niagara Falls] from American side, 1873
Anne Langton
Watercolour
Reference Code: F 1077-9-1-23-1
Archives of Ontario, I0008476


Billings Bridge, August 10, 1877
Billings Bridge, August 10, 1877
Anne Langton
Monochromatic watercolour
16.7 cm x 25.0 cm (6½" x 10")
Reference Code: F 1077-9-1-1
Archives of Ontario, I0008421

Billings Bridge, at Alta Vista (Ottawa), was the first bridge erected to cross the Rideau River. It was named for the Braddish Billings family, early settlers and lumber traders in the Ottawa region. Their former home (1828), is now the Billings Estate Museum.

This image shows another late development in Langton's work, perhaps influenced by her recent viewing, in England, of highly-detailed paintings by Pre-Raphaelite and Realist painters. Her intense interpretation makes use of negative space, reserved paper ground and some scratching out for maximum effect.


Anne sketches a summertime description of the East elevation of University College, undoubtedly recalling John's earlier connection as Vice-Chancellor - now renewed, as his older sons study there.

Urged by nieces and nephews, Anne Langton begins a retirement project: writing a family memoir, The Story of Our Family, which was privately (and secretly) printed by her nieces and nephews in England. It is another source of valuable information about her life and work in the contexts of her Old and New Worlds.

University College, Toronto, c. 1879
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University College, (University of) Toronto, [ca. 1879]
Anne Langton
Watercolour
Reference Code: F 1077-8-1-1-10
Archives of Ontario, I0008009


Rosedale (Toronto) in the early eighties c. 1882
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Rosedale (Toronto) in the early eighties [ca. 1882]
Anne Langton
Monochromatic watercolour
Reference Code: F 1077-9-1-30
Archives of Ontario, I0008552

One of Langton's last images shows her deft use of materials. There is little evidence of preliminary underdrawing.

Not long after her "late" outdoor rambles ended, she began to paint at home, on china, and a few of these items have survived. Most of her hand-decorated porcelain pieces were given to family and friends, or as donations to church bazaars. She also resumed an earlier pastime: "fancy work," (embroidery), none of which has come to light.