RA Magazine Summer 2012
Issue Number: 115
Ben Luke meets the new Chairman of the RA Trust Mervyn Davies
Lord Davies of Abersoch. What is the RA Trust ?
The Trust helps with fundraising, strategy and growth of the Endowment.
What is your background?
Eclectic. I have run Standard Chartered Bank, worked in Asia and been on the boards of Tottenham Hotspur and Tesco. I was also a government minister for two years.
I cram a lot into my life.
When did your interest in art begin?
When I was 18 I saw a painting by Kyffin Williams, who was an RA. So I bought it for a tiny amount. Now my wife and I have a collection, with works by Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach and Maurice Cockrill RA.
Which RA shows have you enjoyed?
The Hockney exhibition lifted my spirits. I went at least ten times, everyone I took loved the show, it was a celebration of British art. I was the trade minister [2009-10] and the creative side of Britain is one of our strengths – the RA is part of that.
Should the Government encourage more private philanthropy?
In America, when you make a lot of money, you celebrate it with philanthropic gestures. I would like to see more of that in the UK. My wife and I have signed up to the Legacy10 campaign, which encourages benefactors to leave a tenth of their estate to charity.
Why give to the RA?
The RA is unique among the big museums and galleries in that it doesn’t receive any government funding: it is dependent on its benefactors, the RA Friends and corporate sponsors. I would encourage everybody to put the RA in their will. You won’t be here to see it, but you will be celebrated.
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