Leslie Moffatt Ward was born in Worcester on 2nd April 1888 and moved to Bournemouth in childhood. His life in Bournemouth began when his parents moved to the town in 1895, to open a drapery business. Ward's mother came from a nautical family in Weymouth, which may explain their move back to the South Coast, and hence Ward's lifelong attachment to seaports and shipping.
Ward lived for the rest of his life in Bournemouth and received much of the inspiration for his work from this neighbourhood. A painter, etcher and lithographer, mostly of English landscapes but also of architectural subjects, he is perhaps best known for his studies of the docks, warehouses and landscapes of the area around Poole, and for this reason his name is always associated with Dorset. However, he also specialised in the landscapes of Southern England, and was a significant painter of the human form.
He began his art training by winning a scholarship at the Drummond Road Art School, where he received a thorough grounding in elementary art subjects under the headmaster, A Lister Lobley. He subsequently went on to teach there, and Lister Lobley was a to prove a great influence on his own methods and style of teaching, which was based on understanding the needs of each individual pupil. Ward was an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher, and there was always strong competition among students to join his classes.
Lister Lobley encouraged frequent changes amongst his staff, which he believed enabled students to be exposed to a great variety of talents and to be taught by people with a wide range of experience and skills. This philosophy went down well with teachers and students alike. There were a number of his colleagues who Ward claimed had played a particularly important part in his life and the development of his work. Amongst these were Nathaniel and James Sparks, Henry Maudesley and B I Warren. Nathaniel Sparks had been a pupil of Sir Frank Short at the Royal College of Art and was responsible for introducing the process of copperplate etching into the school. Henry Maudsley had been a student at the Royal College of Art, and had also worked in Paris, specialising in pictorial design. He and Ward became close friends, often sketching together in the Cotswolds. B J Warren was an expert in enamelling metal, and it was from him that Ward got his first inkling of engraving. Maud Wear, another teacher at Drummond Road School, had been a student at the Royal Academy School and afterwards had worked in Paris, and it was she who infused an enthusiasm for French Impressionist painting at a time when few British artists had any direct experience of such art.
Working alongside so many talented artists in a number of different fields, it is hardly surprising that Ward himself worked in a wide variety of styles and mediums, and in all his work he demonstrated an underlying objectivity, creating an ideal balance between light and colour in his compositions. His masterly handling of the medium is particularly evident in the etchings and engravings.
Leslie Ward was a man with an enthusiasm for life. Those who knew him describe him as a deeply religious man, who was always keen to help others - throughout his life he had been active in his local community and he is remembered as being a kind man with a lovely sense of humour. His life and work was celebrated with an exhibition of his work at the Russell-Cotes Gallery in May 1978, which covered all aspects and phases of his artistic career. He died a few months later, in Bournemouth, on 16th November 1978.
Awarded a gold medal in the National Competition School of Art, 1909-10.
Royal Academy from (1915 onwards) -26 works
Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers -37 works
Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours -8 works
Society of Graphic Art
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (21)
Elsewhere in the provinces and abroad
Elected an associate member of the RE in 1916 and full member in 1936.
Work represented in a number of public collections, including galleries at Bournemouth, Southampton and Cheltenham.
Prominent member of the Bournemouth Art Club, of which he was Vice Chairman for a number of years.