Press Releases

Lifetime to Legacy at National Museum Cardiff

The name Derek Mathias Tudor Williams will not be familiar to everybody, but it is this Welshman who has been the greatest benefactor to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales since Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. A new exhibition to celebrate Derek Williams’ contribution to art in Wales, Lifetime to Legacy: The Derek Williams Trust Collection will go on show at National Museum Cardiff from Friday 25 March 2011.

Derek Williams (1929-1984) was an important collector of modern British art and the collection he built has been further enhanced with new acquisitions by the Derek Williams Trust. The whole collection is on long-term loan to Amgueddfa Cymru. Established following the collector’s death, the Derek Williams Trust is committed to the care, enhancement and public display of Derek Williams’ collection. In addition the Trust provides generous support in furthering the acquisition of post-1900 works of art at Amgueddfa Cymru and contributes to the acquisition of contemporary ceramics, a more recent development by the Trust.

Melissa Munro, Derek Williams Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales said:

"This wonderful exhibition features highlights from the Derek Williams Trust collection and demonstrates their unique contribution to the visual arts in Wales."

"The generous support of the Derek Williams Trust has also transformed the Museum’s collection of twentieth century art and parallels the great bequests of French Impressionist art made by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies a generation earlier. "

The Trust is also providing significant support to the refurbishment of National Museum Cardiff’s new contemporary art galleries – the final phase of Wales’s National Museum of Art, which will open in July 2011.Within the new galleries there will be a dedicated space for the Derek Williams Trust collection.

Amgueddfa Cymru is grateful to the Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones for his support of Wales’s National Museum of Art. The Welsh Assembly Government has contributed £3.25 million towards the creation of a national museum of art for Wales.

Mr Jones said: "It is extremely important that Wales has a fitting home to display the wonderful art of Wales, both works from the magnificent National collections and also those on loan through the generosity of?benefactors such as the Derek Williams Trust.?I am grateful to the Trust for its close co-operation with Amgueddfa Cymru and its generous financial contribution towards the cost of the refurbishment works at the National Museum Cardiff."

Melissa Munro will be giving a lunchtime talk, Derek Williams: a passion for collecting, on Friday 8 April at 1.05pm.

There will also be a lunchtime talk A Continuing Legacy, The work of the Derek Williams Trust by William Wilkins CBE, (Derek Williams Trustee speaker) on Friday 15 April at 1.05pm.

Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.?

?Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.??

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Notes to Editors:

Derek Williams

Derek Williams was a chartered surveyor who lived and worked in Cardiff. His passion for modern British art attracted him to the work of John Piper and Ceri Richards, whose works make up the majority of his collection. These are supported with works by other major figures of mid-twentieth century British art such as Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and L.S. Lowry.

Derek Williams enjoyed many pursuits including opera, photography and golf. He began purchasing art in the late 1950s. He bought mainly from the Howard Roberts Gallery in Cardiff and the Marlborough Gallery in London. He gained immense satisfaction from building his collection and displaying it in his homes and in his business addresses in Cardiff.

Following the death of Derek Williams in 1984 his Executors accumulated his Estate to form The Derek Williams Trust in 1992. They continue to administrate the Trust with the support of additional Trustees.

National Museum of Art

From 9 July 2011, Wales will have its own National Museum of Art, showcasing the full range of the nation’s world-class art collection under one roof at National Museum Cardiff. The Museum’s mix of fine and applied art, the historic and contemporary will give a new visibility to art in Wales and to the art of Wales.

The National Museum of Art will include historic galleries which were refurbished in 2008 and the impressionist and early modern spaces which opened in 2010. The opening of the contemporary galleries in July, which will display the best of art in Wales and beyond post 1950 from Francis Bacon to Richard Long and Josef Herman to John Cale, will mark the final phase of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ £6m project.