Forrest joined the army in 1802 and served in India from 1808-11. He went on half-pay at the end of the Napoleonic Wars until joining the staff of the Earl of Dalhousie, Governor General of Canada, in 1820. Between 1821 and 1823 he was the Governor General's aide-de-camp in Quebec and painted large watercolour views of Quebec and French River and of the French River route from Ottowa to Lake Huron while on official tours.
On his return to England in 1823 he 'tried to capitalise on his artistic activities by publishing prints after his drawings. A Picturesque Tour along the Rivers Ganges and Jumna, in India with twenty-four aquatints, was published in 1824, as well as six small lithographs illustrating the Peninsula War. The next year "A Picturesque Tour through the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada" with forty-eight coloured lithographs, was advertised but apparently never published. Many of Forrest's most finished drawings of Canadian subjects seem to have been intended for this publication.' (B. Robertson in E.J. Nygren, Views and Visions, American Landscape before 1830 (exhibition catalogue, The Corcoran Gallery of Art), Washington D.C., 1986, p.260), as is suggested by the inscriptions on the reverse of this and the following lot. For two watercolours by Forrest from the same series of 'Canadian Views' see Christie's, 14 July 1995, lots 72 and 73.