Ralph Richardson (1845-1933) was born in Edinburgh, the son of James Richardson FRSE and Alison Ponton Black (daughter of Edinburgh Lord Provost Adam Black). His early education was at Edinburgh High School, then Edinburgh Academy. He studied in Dresden, the University of Edinburgh and the Collège de France in Paris. In 1869 he became Writer to the Signet.
In 1872, Richardson became the Edinburgh Geological Society's Honorary Secretary, a post he held until 1880 when he was elected Vice President. He went on to serve as President between 1906-1908. A Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, he was its Honorary Secretary from its foundation in 1884 until 1925 when he became its Vice President.
Richardson served as H.M. Commissary Clerk for Edinburgh from 1883 until his death. He died at hishome at Norton House, Ratho, in 1933.
Obituary article in, The Scotsman, 27 June 1933