Rae was born in Cambridge and trained at the Slade 1888-1890. Her early painting was mostly portraits, but her commercial work is mostly etchings of Oxford, Cambridge and public schools at which she was very skilled. She signed her work as ‘M Oliver Rae’ to hide the fact that she was a woman which was thought to impair her ability to sell views of Oxford and Cambridge.
The rich tones of the etchings make them as popular today as when they were first made.
Her married name was Parker, and their son was John Lankester Parker, OBE, who was chief test pilot for Short Brothers from 1918 to 1945 flying the maiden voyage of each Shorts prototype.