The Leslie – Farquhar Bequest

Published: 14 August 2020

The project to purchase paintings by Barbara Walker and Lucy Stevens has been achieved as a result of generous bequests by two long standing members of the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums – Mrs Jean Farquhar who died in 2004 and Elizabeth Mary Leslie (Pat to her friends) who died in 2018. Both ladies stipulated that the money should be spent on artworks, created since 1950 and by a European artist for New Walk Museum. The paintings were selected in consultation with Museum staff and a Museum Trustee, whose assistance has been invaluable. Both ladies were passionate about education and the value of museums for learning and culture.

Pat Leslie

Pat was born and educated in Kenya and came to England to train as a domestic science teacher. She met her future husband in Scotland and they were married in 1957. They moved to Leicester where he was a doctor and Pat became a domestic science teacher in schools. Pat was able to take a degree with the Open University as her children grew older.

Pat was an active member of The Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums for many years, serving as chairperson and committee member, as well as organising the Friends’ catering team at museum events. She was also a key member of the team supporting the museum staff to create the virtual Gimson collection website. Sadly, her final years were marred by arthritis and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jean Farquhar

Jean was born and grew up in Leicester, attending Wyggeston Girls’ School. During the war she worked with Leicester Police and in 1947 joined the clerical staff of the Adult Education Department, moving to the University Campus in 1954 where she worked for 19 years with Professor Allaway. On her retirement in 1975 she joined the BA course in Combined Arts at the University. Her dissertation on the stained glass windows of C E Kempe was well regarded. Jean went on to work as a volunteer in the Art department at New Walk Museum and published a biography of the Leicester architect Arthur Wakerley.

Both ladies made a valuable contribution to New Walk Museum and the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums during their lives. We are deeply indebted to them for their generous bequests following their deaths which have allowed us to purchase these artworks for the enjoyment and enlightenment of the people of Leicester.

Barbara Walker MBE (1964 - )

Barbara Walker is a British artist based in Birmingham. Her work is shaped by the social, political and cultural realities that affect her life and those around her. These include issues of class and power, gender, race, representation and belonging.
Her figurative drawings and paintings tell contemporary stories linked to historical events. They reflect a human perspective on the state of affairs in her native Britain and elsewhere.

Walker makes portraits in a range of media and formats, from small embossed works on paper to paintings on canvas and large-scale charcoal wall drawings. Her works depict subjects who are often cast as minorities, inviting the viewer to look at the individual rather than a category of person. Her pictures make visible the lives of others, and challenges the labels conferred upon people by society.

The artist often references public archives to create works that bring visibility back to her subject and offer an alternative and balanced interpretation of a nation’s history. It is privileged people in history who have decided on the content of the Nation’s public collections; Barbara Walker works to disrupt their limited and often distorted standpoints. Through her pictures she introduces opportunities for the viewer to consider other points-of-view beyond that of the powerful institution.
Walker’s work is held in private and public collections including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The British Museum and US Embassy London.

Barbara Walker was awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to British Art.

Visit the Barbara Walker website.

All three artworks shown in this gallery were purchased from the Cristea Roberts Gallery with funding from the Leslie-Farquhar bequest, given to the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums, 2020.

Barbara Walker Gallery

Lucy Stevens (1982 - )

Lucy Stevens is an artist based in Leicester whose artwork has been exhibited across the UK. She creates contemporary, vibrant abstract artworks on paper inspired by nature and museum collections.

Lucy creates multi-media artworks from her studio in Leicester. She takes inspiration from the colour palette and sounds of the natural world to celebrate the value and beauty of nature. Her work uses bold, vibrant, and instinctive mark-making techniques using paint, pastel, spray paint, collage, photography, and digital illustration onto paper to produce striking portraits of birds and their songs.

Lucy works alongside a range of experts in a variety of subjects linked to the natural environment, including scientists and ornithologists to fuel her interest in birdwatching and natural science collections.

In 2020 she produced a new series entitled F L O C K, a collection of original artworks inspired by New Walk Museum’s Natural Science Collection of bird skins. Lucy was given access to Leicester Museum’s basement, along with photographer Bill Newsinger to select recognisable UK based garden and woodland birds. Stevens was inspired by Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, an early colour dictionary, outlining colour matches across the natural kingdoms. Darwin referred to it in his notebooks from the voyage of The Beagle. Lucy has selected colour palettes in various mediums, including paint, spray paint, wax pastel, Indian ink, and more to compliment the bird’s plumage. She uses expressive and instinctive mark-making to represent the shape and size of the body and smaller, quieter notations to remember each birds song.

Both artworks shown in this gallery were purchased from the artist with funding from the Leslie-Farquhar bequest, given to the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums, 2020.

Lucy Stevens Gallery


Leicester Museums & Galleries have benefited from a number of bequests and legacies over the years and they have formed a very important role in the development of the collections. Sometimes these are in monetary form, and sometimes they are of actual objects which people choose to leave to the museum in their Will.

Find out more about leaving a legacy or a bequest to Leicester Museums & Galleries.