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Elnora Ferguson 1929~2008

February 3, 2010

On Tuesday 4 February 2009, the Birmingham Post ran a story about the purchase of a new piece of art at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at Birmingham University.

This is an interesting story for here for a couple of reasons.  The artist, Rosalba Carriera, is from Venice and is only the third woman to have a piece displayed among the collection of fine art.  Frankly shocking, but progress I guess!

The other interesting story relates to the donor.  Elnora Ferguson left a  generous bequest to the Barber which completed their fund-raising campaign and allowed them to purchase this artwork.  So, who is Elnora Ferguson?  Well, a fascinating and fantastic woman it seems to me.

A Quaker, she chaired the National Peace Council (and her local Selly Oak branch).  Her voluntary work and charitable donations were recognised when two local universities awarded her honorary degrees (Coventry University and the University of Birmingham). She came originally from Lancashire, but clearly left her mark on our fair city as a highly active citizen, member of the Lunar Society, educationalist and equality campaigner.  Truly a modern day philanthropist.

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