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Helen Ritchie

Senior Curator Modern & Contemporary Applied Arts

Helen Ritchie is responsible for researching, interpreting and curating modern and contemporary Applied Arts at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Her research interests include contemporary crafts, European design post-1850, British Studio Pottery, Artist/Designer metalwork and jewellery and the intersection between applied and fine arts during the interwar period.  

She is also a part-time doctoral student in the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge, researching the studio ceramics of Norah Braden (1901-2001) and other interwar women potters. She is supervised by Prof. Rosalind Polly Blakesley.  

Helen was the sole curator of the exhibition Designers and Jewellery 1850-1940: Jewellery and Metalwork from The Fitzwilliam Museum (2018) and author of the accompanying catalogue. She was the organising curator of exhibitions, Magdalene Odundo in Cambridge (2021-22), Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, in partnership with Yale Center for British Art (2018) and Flux: Parian Ware at The Fitzwilliam Museum, in partnership with artist Matt Smith (2018). She has worked with a number of contemporary artists, including Jennifer Lee OBE, Elspeth Owen, Magdalene Odundo DBE and Matt Smith. 

Before joining the Fitzwilliam in January 2016, Helen worked with a broad range of applied arts at the Royal Collection Trust, Christie’s, Harrogate Museums and the British Museum. She studied at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge and the University of the Arts London.

Helen is a Trustee of the North West Essex Collection Trust (on display at the Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden) and an accredited Arts Society lecturer.

Sole-authored publications

Ritchie, H. (2018) Designers and Jewellery 1850-1940: Jewellery and Metalwork from The Fitzwilliam Museum. London: Philip Wilson Publishers. 176 pp.

Ritchie, H. (2014) A Passionate Collector: Mrs Hull Grundy and Jewellery from the Harrogate Collection. Harrogate: Harrogate Borough Council, 96 pp.

Peer-reviewed Articles

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘The Portrait Jewels of Charles Ricketts (1866–1931)’ in Jewellery History, 2020/3, pp. 1-17 (available online).

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘A true patron: John Keatley and The Keatley Trust Collection at The Fitzwilliam Museum’ in The Journal of the Decorative Arts Society, no. 44, 2020, pp. 110-29, 

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘The Goodison Gift of Contemporary British Crafts to The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge’ in Furniture History, vol. LVI, 2020, pp. 291-302, 

Ritchie, H. (2012) ‘A Superb Service of Toilette Plate: historicist plate in the Royal Collection’ in Silver Studies 2012: The Journal of the Silver Society, pp. 101-111.

Selected shorter writing 

Ritchie, H. (ed.) (2021) Magdalene Odundo in Cambridge. The Fitzwilliam Museum, 64 pp.

Ritchie, H. (2021) 'Her Own Language. An interview with Dame Magdalene Odundo', in The Arts Society Magazine, Summer 2021, pp. 14-18. 

Ritchie, H. (2021) ‘A new acquisition: Candy Lady by Shawanda Corbett’, published on the UCM blog, 24 March 2021 (available online).  

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘Studio Pottery at The Fitzwilliam Museum: The Dr John Shakeshaft Bequest’ in Ars Ceramica, no. 32, 2016 – published September 2020, pp. 62-67. 

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘Curator’s Choice’ in Ceramic Review 304, July/August 2020, p. 78.  

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘Become an Instant Expert on Leach Pottery’ for The Arts Society, published online 23 June 2020 (available online). 

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘Global Acquisitions at the Fitzwilliam Museum’, published on the UCM blog, 5 June 2020 (available online). 

Ritchie, H. (2020) ‘Craft Scotland: Defying Expectations at Collect 2020’ for Craft Scotland, published 20 February 2020 (available online).

Ritchie, H. (2019) ‘A Contemporary Commission: The Schiele Chair’ in The Furniture History Society Newsletter, no. 213, February 2019, pp. 2-6.

Ritchie, H. & P. Rogers (2016) ‘The Studio Pottery Collection of Dr John Shakeshaft’, in The St Catharine’s Magazine, 2016, pp. 128-129.

Ritchie, H. (2014) ‘Mourning and Memory: Queen Victoria’s jewellery in the ‘Albert Room’ in Jewellery History Today, the newsletter of the Society of Jewellery Historians, issue 19, Winter 2014, pp. 5-7. 

Ritchie, H. (2011) Review: 'Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Barbican Gallery’ in Museums Journal, January 2011, pp. 54-55.

  • Wolfson College

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