The granite menagerie

14th July 2006 at 01:00
(Photograph) - 21 massive animals can be petted in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, this summer.

The animals, hand carved from Aberdeenshire stone, are the work of the largely self-taught Scottish sculptor Ronald Rae, who started carving while at primary school in the late 1950s.

The collection, which will be on display for a year, features Rae's most recent work, the "Lion of Scotland" (pictured), which is being shown for the first time.

Rae's simplistic, easily recognisable animal sculptures, some more than 6ft x 20ft and weighing up to 20 tonnes, also include a Highland cow, a sheep on a crag, a horse and a bear.

Guided talks can be arranged but the exhibition organiser, Pauline Macdonald, says: "In our experience, children don't need to be shown how to enjoy these works. They speak for themselves.

"Touching and stroking the sculptures and feeling the marks that the chisel has made enhances the experience.

"Visiting them inspires a lot of creative activity in children, not just sculpture but poetry and stories.". Photograph by CHRIS JAMESEPIC SCOTLAND

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