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The Life And Works Of Barbara Denyer, Irvington’s ‘Grande Dame,’ On Exhibit

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October 26, 2021

By Barrett Seaman —

She was an artist, actress, designer, carpenter, fashionista — eclectic, eccentric, glamorous — and for the 58 years she lived in Irvington, a force for civic good. Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 28, a year after her death at age 86, the Irvington Historical Society is offering an exhibit of the works and memorabilia of Barbara Clark Denyer.

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Denyer’s centennial dress (Barrett Seaman/The Hudson Independent)

The exhibit, curated by Irvington resident Gail Weiler with help from Earl Ferguson, features many of the dresses and hats and pieces of art in a range of media, as well as artifacts from Denyer’s carriage house on Dows Lane in the village.

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Visitors will see mannequins wearing gowns she wore and hats she designed. Newspaper articles and a video recount her contributions to village life — from her role orchestrating Irvington’s Centennial celebration in 1972, the restoration of Town Hall Theater and her membership on various village boards and committees to the acquisition of the Lord & Burnham Building as a new home for the library. Deny­er also co-au­thored and photo-re­searched Wolfer­t’s Roost: Por­trait of a Vil­lage, the His­tory of Irv­ing­ton.

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Barbara Denyer’s Dows Lane living room (Barrett Seaman/The Hudson Independent)

The exhibit is replete with photos of Denyer throughout her decades in Irvington, as well as of the interior of her house, itself a reflection of her artistry and eccentricity.

Admission to the exhibit at the Irvington Historical Society’s headquarters at McVickar House, 131 Main Street, Irvington, is free. Doors will be open from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. each Thursday and Saturday throughout November.

A photo portrait in Denyer’s later years (Barrett Seaman/The Hudson Independent)
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