The Duet Club Pin and Crest


The crest, engraved with a treble clef and the notes “D” and “C” along with “Founded 1889”, is distinctive and ageless. As suitable today as it was in the 1920’s, it was designed by the distinguished Hamilton artist Julian Ruggles Seavey (1856 – 1940).

J.R. Seavey was a close friend of The Duet Club. His two daughters, Miss Theo and Miss Marjorie, life members, were artists in their own right in art and music.

Mr. Seavey did numerous book illustrations. In 1897, he published 95 pen and ink sketches called “Wentworth Landmarks”, originally printed by the Spectator Printing Company and reprinted in 1967 by Ryerson Press as a Centennial project of the Wentworth County Council. He also illustrated Pauline Johnson’s “Flint and Feather”. He taught art at the Normal School in Hamilton and was responsible for setting up the first art curriculum for local schools.

His painting entitled Music, which has been in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa for many years, has great significance to The Duet Club. It shows a violin and bow hanging on a moss green background with music open below and a closed folio of violin duet music. In 1974, Music was featured on a souvenir programme of the 85th anniversary year of The Duet Club. In 1979, the painting was on loan to the Art Gallery of Hamilton to honour the 90th anniversary of The Duet Club of Hamilton. (See the back cover)

On the 40th anniversary in 1929, Mr. Seavey had designed the crest and Miss Ellen Ambrose was presented with a gold pin produced in its form at the George H. Lees Jewelry firm. The two notes, D and C, were set with diamonds which were donated by the acting President, Mrs. C. E. Bull. This is still the traditional badge of office of the President.

Dear Mrs. Beddoe

With this contribution to the Ellen Ambrose Scholarship Fund, I send my heartfelt appreciation. Knowing that it is in loving memory of my dear cousin and is carrying out a wish that was near to her heart, the encouragement and assistance of younger pupils with promising talent… …If the scholarship could awaken the power (sic) of music, it would indeed be a rich memory to her who longed to hear the true beauty of music.´

Ethel M. Ambrose (1941)

The Duet Club pin is valuable and irreplaceable since the die was lost in a fire at the Lees firm. There were about 18 other pins made at the time (without the diamonds) and purchased by members. Many of them have disappeared in some family jewel box, the owners probably unaware of their significance. One which has survived is presented to the acting Honorary President, a lifetime appointment.

To quote from a letter from Mrs. Eleanor Lees, “So wear the pin proudly—it means much to many people. It means so much more than just gold and two lovely diamonds, and in it there is much of the heart of those who have worn it”.

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