The Derek Williams Trust was established in 1992. Prior to his death in 1984, Williams had provided that his art collection and personal fortune be used for charitable purposes, empowering his Trustees to either transfer his Estate to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales, or similar organisation which would fulfil the objects which he intended to benefit. The Derek Williams Trust was thus established as a separate charity, independent of national bodies.
A long-term agreement was entered into with Amgueddfa Cymru in 1993, in the formation of The Derek Williams Committee. The committee was charged with the enhancement of both the museum and the Trust’s collections of post-1900 fine art, and meets at least twice a year.
In 2013, the 20th anniversary of the signing of this agreement, David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru said:
“The Derek Williams Trust’s unique contribution to the visual arts will provide a lasting legacy for the people of Wales. The generous support of the Derek Williams Trust has transformed the Museum’s collection of 20th century art and parallels the great bequests of French Impressionist art made by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies a generation earlier. In times of economic difficulty for museums across the UK this support cannot be underestimated.”
Derek Williams’ original collection focused on British Art from the 1930s onwards. At Amgueddfa Cymru, it augments the Museum’s collection of work by major figures including John Piper, Ceri Richards and Lucian Freud. The Trust uses its income to add to the collection and to acquire works in partnership with the Museum.
Significant purchases by Amgueddfa Cymru have all been achieved with considerable assistance from the Trust, with work from Gwen John and Picasso through to James Turrell and Frank Bowling.
The Trust also provides funding for the National Eisteddfod of Wales Purchase Grant and the Artes Mundi Purchase Prize, which has enabled the acquisition of work by major international artists, including Berni Searle, Tanja Bruguera and Ragnar Kjartansson.
The public display of the Trust’s individual Collection occurs mainly at Amgueddfa Cymru but it is not confined there. The Trust also committed substantial assistance to Amgueddfa Cymru in the refurbishment of the West Wing Galleries at Cathays Park, where curation of the Collection is undertaken at the Museum, through the Derek Williams Curator.