William Ian Robertson Finlay, CBE, director of the Royal Scottish Museum 1961-71; born Auckland, New Zealand, December 2, 1906, died Edinburgh, December 10, 1995

MR Ian Finlay, former director of the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, has died at the age of 89. A well-known figure in the arts, he was the author of many books on Scotland and her people, and delivered many broadcast talks on art and other topics. He took a lasting interest in silver, and one of his books was A History of Scottish Gold and Silver Work, first published in 1956.

He joined the staff of the museum in 1932 and was keeper of the department of art and ethnography from 1955-61. He was director of the museum from 1961-71.

During his tenure as director, many new developments took shape. He began the programme of building renewal at the museum, set up its education section, and began a programme of public lectures at the museum's lecture theatre.

Among his many positions, he was secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland 1953-61, Professor of Antiquities to the Royal Scottish Academy 1971-95, and a member of the Edinburgh Festival Council 1968-71. He was awarded the CBE in 1965.

Mr Finlay was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but his parents soon returned to Scotland and he was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University.

During the Second World War, he was seconded to the Ministry of Information and was deputy regional information officer for Scotland 1942-44.

He married Mary Pringle in 1933. They had two sons and a daughter.