Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Forrester, Alfred Henry

FORRESTER, ALFRED HENRY, artist, best known under the name of Alfred Crowquill (1804–1872), younger brother of Charles Robert Forrester [q. v.], was born in London on 10 Sept. 1804, and educated at a private school in Islington. Although connected with his brother in business for many years, he was never a sworn notary, and in 1839 took the earliest opportunity of retiring from his connection with the city. In 1822 he wrote for the ‘Hive’ and in 1823 for the ‘Mirror,’ which was then under the editorship of John Timbs. He next applied himself to the study of drawing and modelling, as well as to wood and steel engraving. The two brothers were always on the most intimate and friendly terms, and the elder's novel, ‘Castle Baynard,’ published in 1824, bore the following inscription, ‘To Alfred, this little volume is dedicated by his affectionate brother, the author.’ A. H. Forrester furnished the illustrations to his brother's ‘Absurdities’ in 1827, and to his contributions to Bentley's ‘Miscellany’ in 1840–1, when the pseudonym of Alfred Crowquill was conjointly used by the writer and the artist. The best of A. H. Forrester's illustrative work, mostly designs on wood, were executed for Bentley, and afterwards reappeared in the ‘Phantasmagoria of Fun.’ He was also the writer of burlesques, drew pantomimic extravaganzas for the pictorial papers, and exhibited pen-and-ink sketches in the miniature room of the Royal Academy in 1845 and 1846. About 1843 C. R. Forrester retired from literary life, and from that time onward the other brother used the name Alfred Crowquill as sole representative of the previous partnership, and owing to his more numerous works and to his much longer life came at last to be considered as the only Alfred Crowquill, his elder brother being almost completely forgotten. For a time he contributed sketches to ‘Punch,’ where his work will be found in vols. ii. iii. and iv., and then went over to the ‘Illustrated London News’ as a member of the literary and pictorial staff. As a writer and as an illustrator of his own writings he was very popular; upwards of twenty works came from his pen, many of them being children's books. For some years the London pantomimes were indebted to him for designs, devices, and effects. He supplied some of the woodcuts to Chambers's ‘Book of Days,’ he was one of the illustrators of Miss Louisa H. Sheridan's ‘Comic Offering,’ 1831, &c., and he was the designer in 1839 of the cover for ‘Hood's Own.’ In 1851 he modelled a statuette of the Duke of Wellington, which he produced a fortnight before the duke's death and presented to Queen Victoria and the allied sovereigns. At the time when he originally started as an artist there was not much competition, and he consequently found constant work. He was inferior in many respects to Kenny Meadows, although a useful and ingenious man, and many of his works have enjoyed a considerable amount of popularity.

He died at 3 Portland Place North, Clapham Road, London, 26 May 1872, and was buried in Norwood cemetery on 31 May. The works mentioned below were written by Forrester and contain illustrations by himself: 1. A. Crowquill's ‘Guide to Watering Places,’ 1839. 2. ‘Sketches of Pumps, handled by R. Cruikshank, with some Temperate Spouting by A. Crowquill,’ 1846. 3. ‘A good Natural Hint about California,’ 1849. 4. ‘A Missile for Papists, a few Remarks on the Papacy, by the Ghost of Harry the Eighth's Fool,’ 1850. 5. ‘Gold, a Legendary Rhyme,’ 1850. 6. ‘A Bundle of Crowquills, dropped by A. Crowquill in his Eccentric Flights over the Fields of Literature,’ 1854. 7. ‘Fun,’ 1854. 8. ‘Picture Fables,’ 1854. 9. ‘Gruffel Swillendrinken, or the Reproof of the Brutes,’ 1856. 10. ‘The Little Pilgrim,’ 1856. 11. ‘Tales of Magic and Meaning,’ 1856. 12. ‘Fairy Tales,’ 1857. 13. ‘A New Story Book, comprising the Good Boy and Simon and his Great Acquaintance,’ 1858. 14. ‘Honesty and Cunning,’ 1859. 15. ‘Kindness and Cruelty, or the Grateful Ogre,’ 1859. 16. ‘The Red Cap,’ 1859. 17. ‘The Two Sparrows,’ 1859. 18. ‘What Uncle told us,’ 1861. 19. ‘Fairy Footsteps, or Lessons from Legends,’ 1861 (with Kenny Meadows). 20. ‘Tales for Children,’ 1863. 21. ‘Seymour's Humorous Sketches, illustrated in Prose and Verse,’ 1866. 22. ‘The Two Puppies,’ 1870. 23. ‘The Boys and the Giants,’ 1870. 24. ‘The Cunning Fox,’ 1870. 25. ‘Dick Do-little, the Idle Sparrow,’ 1870. 26. ‘The Pictorial Grammar,’ 1875.

In the following list the works were illustrated by A. Crowquill, sometimes in conjunction with other artists: 27. ‘Ups and Downs,’ 1823. 28. ‘Der Freischütz Travestied,’ 1824. 29. ‘Paternal Pride,’ 1825. 30. ‘Despondency and Jealousy,’ 1825 (with G. Cruikshank and others). 31. ‘Eccentric Tales, by W. F. von Kosewitz’ (i.e. C. R. Forrester), 1827. 32. ‘Absurdities, in Prose and Verse,’ by C. R. Forrester, 1827. 33. ‘Faust, a Serio-comic Poem,’ 1834. 34. ‘Leaves from my Memorandum Book,’ 1834. 35. ‘The Tour of Dr. Syntax,’ 1838. 36. ‘Comic Latin Grammar,’ 1840 (with J. Leech). 37. ‘The Vauxhall Papers,’ edited by Alfred Bunn, a periodical, 1841, 1 vol. 38. ‘The Sea Pie,’ a periodical, 1842, 1 vol. 39. ‘Phantasmagoria of Fun,’ by C. R. Forrester; edited and illustrated by A. Crowquill, 1843, 2 vols. 40. ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ by Albert R. Smith, 1843. 41. ‘A Comic Arithmetic,’ 1844. 42. ‘Woman's Love,’ by G. H. Rodwell, 1846. 43. ‘The Wanderings of a Pen and Pencil,’ by F. P. Palmer, 1846, eight numbers. 44. ‘The Excitement, a Tale of our Time,’ 1849. 45. ‘The Book of Ballads,’ by Bon Gaultier, 1849 (with Doyle and Leech). 46. ‘The Sisters,’ by H. Cockton, 1851. 47. ‘Little Plays for Little Actors,’ by Miss J. Corner, 1856. 48. ‘Aunt Mavor's Nursery Tales,’ 1856. 49. ‘Merry Pictures,’ by the comic hands of H. K. Browne, Crowquill, and others, 1857. 50. ‘Fairy Tales,’ by Cuthbert Bede, 1858. 51. ‘Paul Prendergast’ (i.e. P. Lee), 1859. 52. ‘The Travels of Baron Munchausen,’ 1859. 53. ‘The Marvellous Adventures of Master Tyll Owlglass,’ by T. Eulenspiegel, 1860. 54. ‘Strange surprising Adventures of Gooroo Simple,’ by C. J. Beschius, 1861. 55. ‘Pickwick Abroad,’ by G. W. McArthur Reynolds, 1864 (with K. Meadows and Onwhyn). 56. ‘Little Tiny's Picture Book,’ 1871. 57. ‘Nelson's Picture Books for the Nursery,’ 1873, &c. 58. ‘Illustrated Musical Annual’ (with H. K. Browne and K. Meadows). 59. ‘Six Plates of Pickwickian Sketches.’ 60. There are many plates by A. Crowquill in ‘A Collection of Caricatures,’ 1734–1844, press mark Tab. 524 in the British Museum.

[Illustrated Review, 15 June 1872, pp. 737–742, with portrait; Men of the Time, 1872, p. 376; Bentley's Miscellany, 1846, xix. 87, 99, with portrait; Gent. Mag. May 1850, p. 545; Everitt's English Caricaturists, 1886, pp. 194, 368–71, 410; Allibone, i. 455.]

G. C. B.