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Derek Williams (1929–1984)

Derek Mathias Tudor Williams FRICS was born on 25 May 1929 and died on 6 November 1984.

He was educated at the Llandaff Cathedral School and afterwards at Radley. After considering a career as a barrister, he decided to join the practice of his father, Tudor Williams, a leading chartered surveyor practising from Cardiff and Pontypridd. Upon qualifying he remained with the family practice, eventually becoming senior partner. A member of Lloyd’s and a practising surveyor until his death, he gave increasing time to travel and golf and to pursuing his interests in opera, ballet, the theatre, photography and, especially, contemporary art.

His friends and associates remember this bachelor as a very private yet kindly and gregarious man with a tendency to being a perfectionist in all he did, including his painstaking and fine photography. While not claiming any expert or specialist knowledge of modem art, he derived immense satisfaction from building his collection and keeping it on display to be enjoyed at his several addresses. He often expressed his concern that too many works donated to museums were kept locked away and rarely, if ever, saw the light of day. Hence the emphasis in his disposition as to display.

The great generosity of Derek’s charitable gift of his collection and entire net estate has coincided with a reappraisal of the role and workings of the National Museum of Wales. His bequest is happily acting as a catalyst towards the display of modem art and the funding and development of a modem collection of real significance.