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The studio's major activity-particularly in its early years-was taking portraits. Initially, the Notman name helped attract clientele, but Topley's engaging personality doubtless helped in acquiring royal patronage. He photographed all the Governors General of that period, and had close relations with several of them. The Marquis of Lorne appointed him court photographer and Topley took many views of Rideau Hall and its activities from the 1870s to the 20th century. Topley was invited by the Earl of Minto to accompany the Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) on his tour across Canada in 1901. In his old age, Topley was still receiving Christmas cards from a number of retired Governors General.
The Topley Studio stamp on the reverse of a photograph of Miss "Bee" Adams advertising the Governor General's patronage of Topley
Lady Dufferin and Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada
Lady Dufferin's photograph was probably taken during the early 1870s, while Lord Dufferin's was taken in February 1876 for the Fancy Ball
Harriot Georgina, Countess of Dufferin with her children
View from the top of the tobogganing slide at Government House, also known as Rideau Hall.
Page from the Minto family album of "Theatre Royal" featuring the Minto children in costume
Lady Minto skating party on the Ottawa River
Lady Minto with her son, Lord Melgund
Royal train used for the cross-Canada tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, Field, British Columbia
October 4, 1901
Lady Aberdeen at a Canadian Pacific Railway station, unknown location