Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Forrest, Theodosius

FORREST, THEODOSIUS (1728–1784), author and lawyer, son of Ebenezer Forrest [q. v.], a solicitor, author of ‘Momus turn'd Fabulist,’ and a friend of Rich and Hogarth, was born in London in 1728. He studied drawing under Lambert, one of the first landscape-painters of his time, and until a year or two before his death annually (1762-81) exhibited at the Royal Academy. He then entered his father's business; and became a steady solicitor, retaining, however, his artistic tastes. He had a passion for music, and could catch and reproduce an air with surprising quickness. He was a member of the Beefsteak Club, and his society was prized by Garrick and Colman. As solicitor to Covent Garden Theatre, Forrest was thrown into close relations with the dramatic profession, and he composed a musical entertainment. 'The Weathercock,' produced at Covent Garden 17 Oct. 1775, said by Genest to be ‘poor stuff.’ As a writer of songs, however, Forrest was more successful. He is said to have been exceedingly generous, a man of strict integrity, a good judge in matters of art, and an agreeable and entertaining companion. He earned considerable reputation for the rendering of his own ballads. Towards the close of his life Forrest was afflicted with a painful nervous disorder, attended with a black jaundice. He was thrown into a condition of deep melancholy, and on 5 Nov. 1784 killed himself at his chambers in George Street, York Buildings, London. Forrest had a plentiful income, and was very charitable. A portrait of Forrest, with Francis Grose the antiquary [q. v.] and Hone, was painted by Dance and engraved by Bartolozzi.

[Baker's Biographia Dramatica, 1812; Gent. Mag. 1784, p. 877 (article by Thomas Tyers), and 1824, i. 582; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 659; Genest's Hist. of the Stage, v. 512; Graves's Dict. of Artists.]

G. B. S.