Haughton Forrest

Haughton Forrest, 'Pulpit Rock, Derwent River, New Norfolk, undated (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

Haughton Forrest (18261925), artist, was born at Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, the tenth child in the family with a distinguished military background who travelled extensively throughout the Continent. Young Haughton was educated in Jamaica, where his father took up sugar plantation interests, and later at a military college in Germany.

In 1852 Forrest obtained a commission in the British Army before resigning to join the service of the British Post Office. In 1855 he married a widow, Susan Henrietta Bunce. Their early life together was spent on the Isles of Wight and Man, where Forrest indulged his love of yachting and painting, particularly marine subjects.

At the age of 49, with his family, Forrest sailed to Tasmania to take up a grant of 100 acres on the west bank of the Ringarooma River, later moving to take up 'gentleman's residence' at Sandy Bay. He chaired the Wellesley Trust in 188990 and held appointments as a bailiff in the Sorell district, but from 1881 onwards devoted his time to his painting.

Forrest's paintings spanned seventy years of a long life. His prolific work varied from small oils on board to large canvasses. His marine paintings are admired for their meticulous detail and the remarkable translucency which he captured in foam-crested waters. This detail, which was almost photographic, and some licence he used in depicting storm conditions, were not appreciated by contemporary art critics; but there is strong appreciation and demand now for his work, both marine subjects and landscapes.

Further reading: George Brown, Captain Haughton Forrest, Melbourne: Malakoff Fine Art Press, 1982; ADB 8.

Jeff Ransley