Charles Edward Ritchie was born in Launceston on 5 Jun 1863, one of nine children born to William Ritchie (1832-1897), solicitor, and Margaret Bowman Fawns who were married on 20 Dec 1860. William was the sixth child of Captain Thomas Ritchie (1789-1851) and Hannah Harris who were married on 11 Aug 1831. Margaret was a daughter of John Fawns, brewer, and Maria Anderson. Charles entered his father's legal firm of Ritchie & Parker, George Street, Launceston. He gave up law to study art in Paris, then shared a studio in London with his cousin Lily Allport from the mid 1890s to 1918. He designed the decoration of a hall at the Imperial Institute with Arthur Streeton in 1911 and exhibited at many prestigious galleries in the United Kingdom.
Charles married Dollie Brander, a fellow artist who trained, worked and exhibited in London. After World War I they returned to Tasmania where they were both members of the Launceston Art Society. Dollie died in 1926. Charles continued to paint and moved to Penguin in 1938. He died at Latrobe on 18 Sep 1948 aged 85. His ashes were buried with Dollie at the Carr Villa Cemetery in Section B9 No. 233. His work is represented at Windsor Castle, the Art Gallery of NSW and the QVMAG, Launceston.