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Helen Ritchie

Curatorial Research Associate

Helen Ritchie is responsible for researching, interpreting and curating the modern Applied Arts collections. She 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, and was the organising curator of exhibitions, Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, in partnership with Yale Center for British Art, and Flux: Parian Ware at The Fitzwilliam Museum, in partnership with artist Matt Smith (both 2018). She has continued to work with contemporary artists, curating a display with Jennifer Lee and creating a short film with Elspeth Owen. 

After studying at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge and the University of the Arts London, Helen worked with a broad range of applied arts at the Royal Collection Trust, Christie’s, Harrogate Museums and the British Museum. Helen is a Trustee of the Society of Jewellery Historians and the North West Essex Collection Trust (on display at Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden), Hon. Secretary of the Decorative Arts Society (DAS) and an accredited Arts Society lecturer.


Research Interests

Primarily European design post-1850; British Studio Pottery; Artist/Designer metalwork and jewellery; contemporary crafts.

Helen also has a broad-based working knowledge of and interest in European ceramics, glass, silver, pewter, textiles, fans, furniture, clocks, watches, jewellery, arms and armour, as well as Islamic art, dating from the early Modern period to the present.


Recent/Major Publications

Selected articles/publications:

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

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.

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

2018  Designers and Jewellery 1850-1940: Jewellery and Metalwork from The Fitzwilliam Museum, London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 166 pp.  

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

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.