River landscape

Born Boulogne, France 1826, arrived Australia 1876, died Hobart 1925


Born into a family of distinguished service in the armed forces (Forrest’s father was Equerry to Queen Victoria), Haughton Forrest was educated in Jamaica and attended a military academy in Germany. After a swift rise in the Honourable Artillery Company of London and 31st Royal Monmouth Light Infantry, he resigned in the early 1850s to work for the government, and devote time to painting marine subjects.

After taking up land holdings in north-east Tasmania in 1876, he held numerous appointments including chief of police. Moving closer to Hobart in 1881, he relinquished other duties to concentrate on his art. Favouring marine and landscape subjects, Forrest’s prolific output of paintings in Victorian-era style depict scenes in meticulous detail.

With the departure of the artist W.C. Piguenit from Hobart in 1880, Forrest became the leading oil painter in the colony. Forrest developed a working relationship with the photographer John Watt Beattie, whose photographs allowed Forrest to reside in Hobart while relying on Beattie’s images of remote areas of Tasmania.

Forrest’s work was first exhibited in Tasmania in 1881, and he was included in the first annual members exhibition of the Tasmanian Art Association in 1887. Forrest’s views of Hobart, in conjunction with the photographs of J.W. Beattie, were reproduced in Australia’s first set of pictorial stamps in 1899. His paintings are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston and many state galleries and libraries.