In this chapter we consider an artist who is famous for copying from other greats. William Forrest (1805-1899)is known for his landscape engravings. His best works are based on pieces by Chevalier, Church, Lorraine, Waterloo, and Allan. #WilliamForrest worked in both London and Edinburgh from where he established a healthy reputation for his landscapes and genre engravings. Perhaps his finest and most important work is ‘The Great Fall, Niagara’. It is surely his largest work.
The engraving shown is titled #LandscapewithCattle,Evening and comes from a series called Engravings after the Best Pictures of the Great Masters. This image is plate 2 from the series. Forrest was also a contributor to a number of publications – The Land of Burns, and Memorials of Edinburgh in The Olden Time being two.
Large scale engravings from the Victorian period and earlier are now becoming scarce and harder to find. Picture framers back then had no knowledge of conservation methods which lead to valuable works either being completely destroyed or unalterably stained and marred by their acidic mats and frames. Saying this, I recently went to a gallery to view a special exhibit of prints. They were wonderful and in pristine condition- and there was something lacking. I know that many of the pieces I find are imperfect but in many ways that is what gives them life makes them interesting. These pristine prints were perfect – they had not lived, been enjoyed, held, admired. Many a time, I find that age has improved the art in my collection but that is only my opinion.