Barbara Rae RSA CBE is one of the best known artists currently practising in Scotland.


Born in Falkirk, Rae studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art (1961-1965). Travelling to France and Spain on a post-graduate scholarship, her early work drew upon trends of abstraction and mixed media practices in European art at the time. Since her first solo exhibition in Edinburgh in 1967, Rae has gone on to exhibit worldwide. In 1996 she was elected a member of the Royal Academy. She holds honorary doctorates from Napier University, Aberdeen University and the University of St Andrews, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College. 


In 2018 the landmark exhibition Barbara Rae: The Northwest Passage was held at the Royal Scottish Academy. The exhibition charted Rae's expeditions to the Arctic Circle in the footsteps of her namesake, the explorer John Rae.