Born at Port Elphinston, Aberdeenshire, Ritchie was educated at Robert Gordon's College and the University of Aberdeen before joining the staff of the Royal Scottish Museum in 1907 to become Keeper of the Department of Natural History in 1921. His interests were for the whole of the animal kingdom but especially birds. He had a major influence in legislation dealing with the protection of grey seals and wild birds. His book 'The Influence of Man on Animal Life in Scotland: A Study of Faunal Evolution' (1920) brought international recognition. The work encouraged the growth of the study of animal ecology and of its application in conservation. Ritchie influenced the establishment of the Nature Conservancy Council with its separate organisation in Scotland.
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The Royal Society of Edinburgh
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More on this painting
presented by the sitter's son, Professor A. E. Ritchie, FRSE, 1958