Crooked Window

Ffenest Gam


by David Moore and published by Graffeg

The launch of Art for Wales at National Museum Wales

Book launch for Art for Wales: The Legacy of Derek Williams by David Moore at Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd – National Museum Cardiff on 26 September 2020. Left to right: William Wilkins, Derek Williams Trust; David Moore author; John Thomas-Ferrand, Derek Williams Trust; Catrin Pascoe, editor, Western Mail; David Anderson, director-general, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, Welsh Government. (Photograph © Huw David)

A lavishly illustrated book by Brecon resident and former museum curator David Moore, Art for Wales: The Legacy of Derek Williams, was published on 26 September 2020 by Graffeg. It explores the impact upon the modern and contemporary art collection cared for by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales of a major legacy which is held in trust. The book is available for £25 from bookshops and at

Derek Williams was an engaging south Wales partner in a firm of chartered surveyors who died in 1984 at the age of fifty-five. He bequeathed his art collection, rich in mid-twentieth century neo-romantic works by artists such as David Jones, Ceri Richards and John Piper, together with a personal fortune to be vested in a charitable trust. The aims of this were 'to advance public understanding in and appreciation of the arts by the public display of fine works of art'. The independent Derek Williams Trust was established in 1992 with a focus on acquiring post-1900 fine and applied art by both Welsh and international artists and, the following year, the trust formed a mutually beneficial partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

The trust's collection, currently numbering around 200 artworks, is on long-term loan to the museum. It includes paintings by Gillian Ayres, Iwan Bala and Shani Rhys James and sculpture by David Nash and Lois Williams as well as international ceramics. The trust has, in addition, grant-funded, often with other funders, around 180 significant artworks in the national art collection including paintings by Cedric Morris, Pablo Picasso and David Hockney, video works by John Akomfrah and Bedwyr Williams and performance art by Tania Bruguera. The trust has spent over seven million pounds since 1992 including supporting the refurbishment of the museum's West Wing Galleries as well as curatorial posts.

It is hoped that the book will raise awareness of the exceptional and on-going legacy of Derek Williams to Wales which, in its support to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, is comparable to the bequest by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies of French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the mid-twentieth century. With additional material, the book is derived from articles originally published in the Western Mail Weekend magazine to mark the trust's twenty-fifth anniversary in 2017.

David Moore, who, as a former curator, built up the regional art collection at Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery (now y Gaer) and jointly founded, with William Gibbs, Brecknock Art Trust, reflects: 'It has been hugely satisfying delving into the collections concerned and endeavouring to understand the artworks better. Having worked extensively in Welsh museums and art galleries, I have a particular interest in Welsh artists but I have also enjoyed discovering significant modern and contemporary artworks from many other nations. In addition, I have much appreciated working with the publishers, Graffeg, who have produced this most attractive book.'

Art for Wales book cover



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