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Barbara Tyrrell is known internationally for her detailed costume studies of the traditional dress of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa. Barbara Eleanor Harcourt Tyrrell was born on March 15th 1912 in Durban. Her father, who died while she was a small child, had occupied the post of assistant magistrate and later interpreter in the Department of Native Affairs and had been stationed in various Natal towns, his final posting being to Eshowe, Zululand. Tyrrell’s grandfather was Frederick Fynney, interpreter and companion to the Zulu king Cetshwayo during the latter’s visit to Queen Victoria in 1882.

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