Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Isobel (Iso) Rae (1860 - 1940) - Australian Artist


Isobel Rae was born in Melbourne on 18th August 1860. She was the youngest daughter of a manufacturer from Scotland and his wife Janet, nee Love.  

After studying at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in Melbourne, Iso, her mother Janet and sister Alison went to France where they lived in Paris for three years and then moved to Etaples, a small fishing village on the north west coast of France.  There was a large group of artists who lived and worked in Etaples in the early 1900s.  Iso's work was exhibited at the Paris Salon and her success and progress were reported in Australian newspapers.

When war broke out in 1914 most of the artists fled to England but Iso and her sister Alison joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) and worked at the Base Camp in Etaples for the duration of the war.  Iso continued to paint in her spare time - one wonders how much of that she would have had - and her work is an important record of the conditions at the Base Camp.   Janet Rae died in France during WW1.  The sisters remained in France until the 1930s when they moved to England and settle in St. Leonards on Sea in Sussex.  Iso died in Brighton on 16th March 1940.

Her painting "Cinema Queue" Etaples Base Camp, France, which I found on Google Images, is on display in Australia.

A book featuring the wartime letters of Isobel and her sister Alison has recently been published - see link for details:  http://www.bridgetmcdonnellgallery.com.au/news/rae-letters-booklaunch/

Source:  Wikipedia

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