In Memory of Judith Carmel-Arthur

It is with deep sadness that we announce the recent and sudden passing of Dr. Judith Carmel Arthur.   She had taught for Richmond since Fall 2005, primarily specialising in courses related to English Language, Research, and Writing. 

She was known as a very caring teacher and one who set high standards. Her trips to the Kew Archives where she introduced her students to the power, authenticity and sheer excitement of conducting primary research are memorable.  Those of us who worked with her recall her as a very lively colleague who was passionate about her various areas of interest stretching from Research & Writing through to Art and Design.

Her own academic background reflected her range of interests, with degrees including a PhD in the History of Design, an MA in Heritage Management, an MA from the Courtauld Institute in the History of Art: Italian High Renaissance, a BA in Architectural History, and a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture). She also held the post of Researcher at the Warburg Institute in the History of the Classical Tradition.   Recently Dr. Carmel-Arthur was working on the publication of book chapters, academic papers, and magazine articles related to Heritage and Architectural History.  

One of her students has written:  “Dr. Arthur was a great and compassionate professor, who had a major impact on my life. As my very first professor at Richmond, she inspired and encouraged me unlike any instructor had before. She was kind, just, and understanding, all whilst instilling university-level expectations in myself and my peers. While she will be greatly missed, her legacy will live on through the many students whose lives she touched through her amazing teaching.”  

Her Richmond faculty colleagues have written: 

‘Judith was passionate about her teaching and scholarship. She was committed to developing the academic competencies of her students and to passing on to them the highest and most rigorous possible standards of scholarship. She worked unsparingly.’

‘Judith always understood the importance of demonstrating to her students the reality of a situation. So when discussing human rights with them, she invited/persuaded one of her friends, a well-known BBC documentary writer, to come and show them some of his footage of reality in some African countries, and explain how it came about. The students were deeply moved, and the quality of their understanding of the cases in point was enormously enhanced.’

It is a shock to think of Judith, such a force of nature, not being here anymore – and far too young to go. We will celebrate her life, her energy, her passion, the fact that she gave of herself 100% to what she undertook. And the stories: of nature, walks, animals, and above all, her beloved dogs. May you be surrounded by warm fur, Judith, with lolling tongues and eyes full of love and laughter…’

‘One of the things for which Judith is remembered is for the numerous posters and notices that she designed for use in the university. They were quirky, informed, visually arresting, and highly effective. I recall being about to enter a classroom when I spotted affixed to the door Lee Miller’s stunning wartime photo “Women in Firemasks”, and with the subtitle “CLASS IN PROGRESS”.

Her contribution to Richmond’s Liberal Arts’ Research and Writing programme at Richmond was made in a similar spirit. An active researcher in the arts, she continually found ways in which to bring her current projects, and her methods into the classroom, in a way that gave her teaching a freshness and impetus that was hard to match. She would take students to the National Archives at Kew, to the Tate to see Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds, to the V&A to look at ceramics. Equally notable was the range of issues with which she engaged – human rights, representation of women, landscape, English country houses. These found their ways into the writings of her students in ways which have stood them in very good stead. Those taught by Judith have been given a rare privilege and a very good grounding.’

Although her family did not specify this, if you would like to make a donation, we think The National Trust would be appropriate.  Dr. Carmel-Arthur had worked on ‘A Woman’s Touch’, an exhibition related to the National Trust property Clandon Park in Surrey.  In fact, she had used that research opportunity to involve a few of her Richmond students in first hand cataloguing and archiving experience.

Our thoughts are with her and her family. She will be missed.