Ronald Rae was born in Ayr in 1946. Aged 12, he was drawing a weekly cartoon strip for a local newspaper; he struck his first granite rock when he was 15. He spent a short time at both Glasgow Art School and Edinburgh College of Art, then decided to follow his own vision. Drawing is still an important part of his life but it is through sculpture that he is best able to express his love and concern for the human and animal condition. Working intuitively, using only hand tools, he is able to convey the tenderest of feelings onto one of the hardest stones in the world.
Rae explores his faith through his art, and many of his sculptures are religious in content. Being brought up in the countryside it follows that he appreciates animals in his art. Inspired by Scotland’s ancient carved stones and Celtic crosses, wild boar, horses and bears – they too appear in his work. Rae was always intrigued by prehistoric cave art, and often, he does not carve the stone in the round but uses his chisel to draw on its surface.
Rae’s ‘Tragic Sacrifice of Christ’ comprises five sculptures in Rozelle Park to the rear of Rozelle House. The oldest granite is 470 million years old. The granite for the centre piece, The Deposition, came from Kirkmabreck Quarry in Creetown. The granite for the remaining sculptures came from the Old Harbour wall in Ayr. The project was funded by Kyle and Carrick District Council and unveiled in 1979 by George Younger, then Secretary of State for Scotland.
The sculptures can be found at the back of Rozelle House.