About Dr Helen Rufus-Ward


Dr Helen Rufus-Ward is a published art historian and university lecturer with a BA, MA and an AHRC funded doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex.  Helen lectured at the University of Sussex for seven years on all aspects of art history but with a specialism in early Christian and Byzantine art.

Helen has published elements of her doctoral research on 19th century responses to Byzantine ivories as well as her post doctoral research into collections of 19th century plaster casts of late Antique, Byzantine and medieval ivories. These are known as ‘fictile ivories’ and were manufactured to fill gaps in collections in order to illustrate the development of European sculpture.

Helen is a very experienced speaker with a relaxed and friendly style.  Since 2016 Helen has worked as an accredited speaker for the Arts Society (NADFAS) delivering popular illustrated powerpoint lectures.  Helen’s lectures open up a world of wonderful treasures.  From the romance and excitement of Late Roman buried treasure to the otherworldly magic of St Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, and their breath-taking icon collection.  The aim of Helen’s lectures is always to inform whilst entertaining and amusing, at the same time revealing the diverse richness of material culture from the Late Roman and early Byzantine periods.  Splendid architecture, glittering mosaics, opulent silverware, exquisite ivory carvings, delicate enamels, gleaming glassware, and sacred relics.  And then there are the characters – the decadent Byzantine Empresses and the mad holy men…there is even the shock of some 10th century pornography!

Helen has a Higher Education Academy teaching qualification, is a member of the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, a member of the Society of Jewellery Historians, and Chairman of the Eastbourne Arts Society supporting the Towner Art Gallery.