J. W. Beattie’s photograph on glass of Haughton Forrest painting

John Watt Beattie photographed several paintings of the artist Haughton Forrest. This particular photograph is on glass. These scans are from the original photograph on glass:

Notes from John McCullagh:

This is a photo on the glass itself of the Hobart Town waterfront and Mount Wellington taken by John Watt Beattie of a painting by Haughton Forrest.

The brush strokes can be seen with a magnifying glass.

On the barrel in the foreground is the signature “Forrest”

Date: ca 1880- 1890.
Size: 380mm x 280mm, the glass is bevelled, its thickness is 4mm.

Provenance: Tullochs Auctions, Launceston, Tasmania.

Detail: Signature of Forrest on barrel in foreground

All images from © The Private Collection of John & Robyn McCullagh 2007. ARR.


The Archives Office of Tasmania holds an identical lantern slide: click here.

Reference: NS2495/1/84
Title: Hobart From The Bay
Subject: city views, cityscapes, lantern slides
Locality: Hobart
Date: 1900


The State Library of Tasmania has several Haughton Forrest paintings online and considerable holdings of photographs by and attributed to John Watt Beattie, including this photograph of a painting of William Gunn.

The State Library of Victoria also holds a sizeable collection of Beattie’s lantern slides.

Biography of Haughton Forrest
Source: http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080564b.htm
Australian Dictionary of Biography

FORREST, HAUGHTON (1826-1925), artist, was born on 30 December 1826 at Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, youngest son of Thomas Arthur Forrest, equerry to Queen Victoria, and his wife Mary Lowther, both parents being of distinguished family. Forced to flee to Jersey, England, on the commencement of the French revolution in 1830, the Forrests later travelled throughout France and Germany before returning to their country home Forest Lodge in Berkshire. Young Haughton was subsequently educated in Jamaica, where his father had extensive sugar plantations, and at a military college at Wiesbaden, Germany. In 1852 he obtained a commission in the Honourable Artillery Company of London; he later joined the 31st Royal Monmouth Light Infantry, but resigned after attaining the rank of captain to work for the Post Office in London. On 30 September 1858 at the Plymouth parish church, Devon, he married a widow, Susan Henrietta Bunce, née Somerville (d.1893). Their early married life was spent on the Isles of Wight and Man and in southern England where Forrest spent much time yachting and painting marine subjects, some of which were reputedly commissioned by the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII).

In 1875 Forrest took up a grant of sixty acres (24 ha) in Kittoland, Parana, southern Brazil, but finding conditions unsuitable returned to London. Next year he migrated with his family in the James MacDuff to take advantage of a grant of 100 acres (40 ha) in north-eastern Tasmania. Later he moved to Sorell where he obtained municipal appointments as bailiff of crown lands and of the court of general sessions, inspector of nuisances, of weights and measures, of thistles and of stock. He was also superintendent of police. All these positions he relinquished in March 1881 when he moved to Wellington Hamlets, near Hobart. In 1889-90 he was chairman of the Wellesley Road Trust.

Forrest spent the rest of his life after 1881 fully devoted to his art, painting many fine marine subjects and landscapes. His output, which spanned some seventy years, was prolific, and varied from small oils, painted on board, to large canvases. The marine paintings were usually of stormy scenes in which the vessels were meticulously detailed and the foam-crested breakers remarkably green and translucent. By contrast, his landscapes were peaceful, with mystical backgrounds of hazy blue or purple mountains. In 1899 Forrest’s views of Mount Wellington and Hobart, in conjunction with the photographs of J. W. Beattie, formed the first set of pictorial stamps produced in Australia. He is also known to have painted New Zealand scenes, an occasional still life, a hunting scene and a brood of chickens. The extreme detail and exactitude of Forrest’s technique gave his works a photographic quality which, in earlier years, some art critics strongly deprecated. It is only recently that there has been a strong demand for his paintings.

Forrest died on 20 January 1925 at Melton Mowbray, leaving only a modest estate and survived by two daughters and one of his two sons. Many of his paintings hang in Tasmanian and other Australian art galleries. A self-portrait, in military uniform, under-taken in his early years, is in a private collection in Hobart.

Select Bibliography
University of Tasmania Fine Arts Committee, Captain Haughton Forrest, exhibition catalogue (Tas, 1976); Hobart Town Gazette, 25 June, 23 July 1877, 28 May 1879, 15, 29 Mar 1881; Art and Australia, 14 (Spring 1976), no 2; Mercury (Hobart), 21 Jan 1925; Argus (Melbourne), 22 Jan 1925; Australasian (Melbourne), 24 Jan 1925; Canberra Times, 17 Jan 1974. More on the resources

Author: G. R. Garrott

Print Publication Details: G. R. Garrott, ‘Forrest, Haughton (1826 – 1925)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, Melbourne University Press, 1981, pp 543-544.

Biography of John Watt Beattie
Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography

BEATTIE, JOHN WATT (1859-1930), photographer and antiquarian, was born on 15 August 1859 at Aberdeen, Scotland, son of John Beattie, master house-painter and photographer, and his wife Esther Imlay, née Gillivray. After a grammar-school education he migrated with his parents and brother in 1878, and struggled to clear a farm in the Derwent Valley, Tasmania. He soon turned to his life’s work. From 1879 he made many photographic expeditions into the bush, becoming a full-time professional in 1882 in partnership with Anson Bros whom he bought out in 1891. Gifted with both physical zeal and craftsman skills, he probably did more than anyone to shape the accepted visual image of Tasmania. An admirer of William Piguenit, Beattie stressed the same wildly romantic aspects of the island’s beauty. His work included framed prints, postcards, lantern-slides and albums, and was the basis for a popular and pleasing set of Tasmanian pictorial stamps (in print 1899-1912).

In the 1890s Beattie broadened his entrepreneurial work. His museum of art and artefacts became one of Hobart’s sights and showed his enthusiasm for local history. Convictism at Port Arthur and the Aboriginals were conspicuous among his interests, but he gathered and dealt in all kinds of material (including gossip). He was appointed the colony’s official photographer in 1896, and thereafter worked hard in support of tourism. His own illustrated lectures had much success, and he prepared sets of slides (with solid, informed commentary) for wider distribution. Tasmania’s promise of health and minerals ranked high in this propaganda.

Making a business of Tasmaniana never corrupted Beattie. While sometimes over-imaginative in historical reconstructions with pen and camera, he had a scholarly sense. His accounts of Port Arthur, for example, steered between sensation and sentimentality, and he confronted the horror of European-Tasmanian relations. ‘For about 30 years this ancient people held their ground bravely against the invaders of their beautiful domain’, he wrote of the Aboriginals. While supporting and investing in the development of minerals, Beattie also urged conservation of fauna and flora. Among his attachments were the Minerva Club, wherein Hobart’s liberal intellectuals gathered around Andrew Inglis Clark, and he joined Bishop Henry Montgomery and Professor William Brown in establishing the historical and geographical section of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1899. The society had elected Beattie to a fellowship in 1890, and he gave the key-note historical address at the Tasmanian centenary celebrations of 1904 (published as Glimpses of the Lives and Times of the Early Tasmanian Governors).

An opportunity for exotic photography came in late 1906 when Beattie toured the Western Pacific, including Norfolk Island. In 1912 Roald Amundsen entrusted him with developing plates taken on the first trek to the South Pole. Thereafter, highlights came fewer, and family portraits thicker, although Beattie retained his various interests. In 1927 the Launceston Corporation paid £4500 for much of his collection, which remains in the Queen Victoria Museum; after his death, further items (many slides, and objects relating to Port Arthur and the Pacific) went to the Tasmanian Museum, Hobart. The business he established survived in 1978, still selling his work.

A fine-looking man, Beattie was likeable if volatile. Jack Cato, a kinsman and pupil, declared him not only ‘the finest landscape photographer of his age’ but also ‘by far the best known man in the island, and the most popular’. Montgomery was more subtle, although hardly less admiring: ‘All you say of your struggles and hopes reminds me of the old Beattie! Your life consists of much keener joys than most people enjoy—and you must put up with gloom too’ (1907). Beattie’s long commitment to theosophy, dating from the foundation of a lodge in Hobart in the early 1890s, may be explained by his romanticism, but was later tempered by membership of the Methodist Church.

He died suddenly of heart disease in Hobart on 24 June 1930, survived by his wife Emily Cox, née Cato, member of a long-settled Tasmanian family, whom he had married in 1886, and by their two daughters. His estate was valued for probate at £871.

Select Bibliography
J. Cato, I Can Take It (Melb, 1947), and The Story of the Camera in Australia (Melb, 1955); Beattie papers in the Allport and Crowther collections (State Library of Tasmania); Beattie and Hurst papers in the Royal Society of Tasmania collection (University of Tasmania). More on the resources

Author: Michael Roe

Print Publication Details: Michael Roe, ‘Beattie, John Watt (1859 – 1930)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp 232-233.