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Forrest, Captain Haughton (1826–1925)

The death at Melton Mowbray on Tuesday of Captain Haughton Forrest at the age of 99 years removed one of the best known citizens of Hobart, and an artist whose landscape and oil paintings of marine subjects were well known in every State in Australia and in New Zealand. He had had a varied and interesting career. He was the son of Captain Thomas Arthur Forrest whose father was for many years a member of the British House of Commons. He was born at Boulogne France on December 28, 1825. His earliest years were spent at Boulogne and at Tours, but in 1830 his family with many others, was obliged to flee from France on the outbreak of the second French Revolution and took refuge in the island of Jersey. Later the family travelled in France and Germany before returning to their country home Forrest Lodge, Berkshire, a few miles from Windsor, where Captain T. A. Forrest was an equerry to Queen Victoria. While still in his early boyhood Captain Haughton Forrest was taken to Jamaica where his father had extensive sugar plantations worked in those days by black slaves who did not secure their full emancipation till 1838. While there he went with an elder brother to a school at Savanna la Mar, kept by an English clergyman, whose pupils comprised about 200 black boys and girls. Subsequently he spent 15 to 16 months at a semi-military college at Wiesbaden, Germany, and in January 1852, he obtained a commission for five years in the Honourable Artillery Company of London, of which the Prince Consort was then colonel. He afterwards joined the 31st Royal Monmouth Infantry but resigned from the Army after attaining the rank of captain, and entered the service of the British Post Office in London. Having been deterred from accompanying the British forces to the Crimean War 1854, he later contemplated joining Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition to the North Polar regions, but was dissuaded from doing so by a friend. He spent several years of his early married life at East Cowes in the Isle of Wight, at Douglas in the Isle of Man, and in other parts of England. In 1875 he went to South America, which he had visited previously, with the intention of settling on a grant of land that he had obtained in Kittoland, in the province of Parana, south Brazil, but not being satisfied with the prospects there he returned to England, and after hearing Australia described in glowing terms he embarked with his wife and young family in the sailing ship James MacDuff. He settled in Tasmania where for some time he was superintendent of police at Sorell, before the days of the centralisation of the police force, and was chairman of the Wellington Road Trust. Later he moved to Hobart where he devoted his life to painting. He had made a special study of marine subjects in England and his oil paintings of yachts and ships had attracted much attention at Plymouth on account of the wonderful accuracy of detail and the artistic presentation of his subject. Several yachting pictures from his brush were purchased by the late King Edward, then Prince of Wales. His landscapes as well as his seascapes were much sought after in every Australian State and also in New Zealand. Remarkably active even in the last years of his life, Captain Forrest retained a vivid recollection of many interesting incidents of his earlier days. Among them were the sight of the first steam boat on the River Loire in France and the address which his father delivered to the slaves in Jamaica on the occasion of their emancipation. His wife and one son predeceased him, and he is survived by a son and two married daughters.

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'Forrest, Captain Haughton (1826–1925)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/forrest-captain-haughton-6210/text30208, accessed 21 September 2017.

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