Unseen work by St Albans author published posthumously by son

Dena Bryant-Duncan with her cat, Willow. Picture: Mark Bryant

Dena Bryant-Duncan with her cat, Willow. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Unseen work by a successful artist has been discovered and published by her son after her passing.

The Emerald Ring by Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

The Emerald Ring by Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Dena Bryant-Duncan first moved to St Albans 1965, setting up the St Albans Art Gallery in New England Street the same year in order to exhibit local artists such as Gordon Beningfield and Lesley Anne Ivory.

The successful space moved around the city, first to Lower Dagnall Street and then to Spicer Street, before it closed in 1990 and Dena retired to Westbury-on-Severn in 1998.

She was a painter and writer, publishing a number of books including The Magic Garden; True Ghost Stories; True Stories of Fairies and Angels of the Forest of Dean; Old and New Family Recipes from the Forest of Dean, and Dena’s Herbal Recipes.

One article she authored, The Spirits of St Albans, was published in Hertfordshire Countryside and she also appeared on TV three times.

The Emerald Ring by Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

The Emerald Ring by Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant


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Before she passed away in 2016 aged 86, Dena’s eyesight had deteriorated to the point that she could not write anymore.

While scanning through her work after her death, Dena’s son, Mark Bryant, discovered an unpublished romantic mystery novel called The Emerald Ring, written up with a typewriter in the 1970s when Dena was living in St Albans’ Queen Street.

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Mark decided to publish the book in her memory at his own expense.

He said: “I can’t put it into words, I just wanted to finish it off and if I hadn’t it would have been stored and then thrown away.

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

“I did not edit it because I wanted it to be her book, as if she had taken it to the printer herself, how it would have been - as the previous one was.”

Mark tracked down the printers and designers she had worked with previously to Tidenham near Chepstow. It has now been printed as an 116 page, A5 paperback.

The blurb reads: “A haunting tale of romance, mystery, and tragedy. When Jane Simpson of Sinclair’s, the highly-respected London auction house, is sent to Trevegoe Manor in Cornwall to value Lord Tresick’s art collection, she finds herself caught up in a net of intrigue and supernatural happenings.”

Mark said he was “very pleased” with the finished product, citing family holidays to Cornwall as her inspiration.

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

He is happy to sell copies of the limited edition at £5 each, including postage charges.

To buy, cheques made out to Park Art should be sent to Park Art, 168 Overhill Road, London SE22 0PS.

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire Countryside article by Dena Bryant-Duncan, The Spirits of St Albans. Picture: Mark Bry

Hertfordshire Countryside article by Dena Bryant-Duncan, The Spirits of St Albans. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire Countryside article by Dena Bryant-Duncan, The Spirits of St Albans. Picture: Mark Bry

Hertfordshire Countryside article by Dena Bryant-Duncan, The Spirits of St Albans. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant

Herts Ad article featuring Dena Bryant-Duncan. Picture: Mark Bryant - Credit: Archant

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