Property Magnate Leaves $490 Million in Art and Cars to British Public in Will

The late property magnate Harry Hyams has left £387 million ($490 Million) in the form of his fine art and vintage car collection to Britain.

The largest art donation in British history, Hyams’s collection includes many rarely seen masterpieces such as Tristran and Iseult (1872) by Sir Edward Burne–Jones, JMW Turner’s The Bridgewater Seapiece (1801), Cherry Ripe (1879) by Sir John Everett Millais, and works by the 18th-century painter George Stubbs.

Ramsbury Manor in Whiltshire, the late multimillionaire’s home, will also be converted into a museum in which the collection will be displayed.

Hyams, who died this past year in December, was determined that his collection would be made available to the public. He set up The Capricorn Trust in 2010 and bequeathed £387 million of his £487 million ($590 million) fortune to ensure that it would happen.

“Mr. Hyams was a very private person and Ramsbury Manor was his private home,” Diana Rawstron, trustee of the Capricorn Foundation told the Telegraph.

“Converting it in a sympathetic and appropriate way to public use will take some time. Putting so many valuable works of art on display, along with his large collection of vintage cars, is a big project,” she added.

While the conversion is being completed the trust will begin the process of loaning works to institutions around the country.

Hyams, the son of a bookmaker, made his fortune in property. He started out as an office boy aged 17 and was a millionaire by the age of 30. His most visible achievement is the iconic, grade-II listed, Centre Point building which sits at the bottom of Oxford Street in Central London. Designed by Brutalist architect George Marsh, the 33-storey office building has become one of London’s most beloved landmarks.

Despite this, the Centre Point building stood empty after being completed in 1966 the building was subsequently partially squatted until 1975, later becoming office space and the home of homeless charity Centrepoint. It is currently being restored and re-developed into luxury flats.

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