Deborah Sugg Ryan

Professor of Design History & Theory; Associate Dean (Research), University of Portsmouth

Deborah Sugg Ryan is a design and cultural historian and a former V&A curator. The main body of her research is on the past, present and future of the home. The acknowledged expert on the history of the Ideal home Show, her most recent book is Ideal Homes, 1918-39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism (Manchester University Press). She is an experienced tv and radio broadcaster and is series consultant and onscreen expert for BBC Two's A House Through Time (Twenty Twenty Television).

As well as currently writing a book on the kitchen, Deborah is also on the advisory board and has written a catalogue essay for the V&A's forthcoming exhibition Food: Bigger Than the Plate.

Deborah has also written on the history of the 20th century pageant movement, especially the pageant master Frank Lascelles.

In her spare time Deborah is preoccupied with period house renovations and vintage frocks (especially novelty prints that she tries to match to the subject of her lectures).


  • 2016–present
    Professor of Design History and Theory and Associate Dean Research, University of Portsmouth


  • 1995 
    University of East London, PhD Cultural Studies (The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and Suburban Modernity, 1908-51)
  • 1986 
    University of Essex, BA (Hons) History & Theory of Art


  • 2018
    Ideal Homes, 1918-39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism, Manchester University Press

Grants and Contracts

  • 2012
    Mid-Career Fellowship
    Funding Source:
    British Academy

Professional Memberships

  • Design History Society
  • Royal Historical Society