Stephen George Rae
the Bard of Cumberland
I was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. My first degree is a BSc with Honours in Botany from the University of Glasgow, that led me into a career in science and agronomy, both in the UK and in Developing Countries.
Upon returning from overseas I studied for a BA with Honours in Fine Art at Cumbria Institute of the Arts, and then ordained as a Buddhist monk for a few years.
I returned to my art practice in 2011. In 2016 I was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts. Also in 2016 I co-founded Bardsea-Green Films, and we are now a group of filmmakers, folklorists and performance artists making sketch series, short films, and documentary. Exploring folklore through the medium of short film, Land of Lore Films was founded in 2020.
My paintings blend characters and symbols from Celtic, Egyptian and Greek mythologies; British folklore: Eastern philosophy.
The Bard of Cumberland: I’ve had an interest in folklore and history since my youth. The Rae family farmed along the coast of south Ayrshire, and my grandfather would recount tales of the sea people, of witches and cannibals; and my grandmother would tell tales from Ireland and her native Galloway. I continue this tradition as the Bard of Cumberland, a folklore and storytelling project that arose after moving to Cumbria in 2003, and whilst studying as a Bard within the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I also share folklore from Ayrshire and Galloway.
I currently reside in Ulverston, on the edge of the Lake District National Park.