Born in Falkirk, Scotland, in 1943, Barbara Rae studied Fine Art at the Edinburgh College of Art. She has travelled extensively throughout her career, including places such as France, Spain, New Mexico, Italy and South Africa.

In 1983, she was elected President of the Society of Scottish Artists. She is also a member of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) and the Royal Academy, London (RA). In 1999, she was awarded a CBE and has received Honorary Doctorates from Napier University, Edinburgh and Aberdeen University. In 2003, she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at the Royal College of Art, London.

Rae’s work has been included in many solo and group exhibitions in Scotland, Ireland, England and abroad. Her work is featured in many important collections including the University of Edinburgh; University of Glasgow; British Museum; Museum of Art for Women, Washington DC; Perth Art Gallery and Museum, Australia and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.