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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.

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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