Robert Smith Forrest


RS & W Forrest

William Forrest

Forest [in one directory]

RS&W Forrest

RS&W Forrest was a partnership between Robert Smith Forrest and William Forrest, until 1905 when the two photographers began to work from separate studios.

Here is a cabinet print from RS&W Forrest's 'Brandon Studio' at Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, Edinburgh.  The studio operated from 1890 until 1905, just about the end of the era of cabinet prints.

The cabinet print below includes Scottish highland dress.  The back of the card is plain white.

Cabinet Print by Forrest  -  Lady with two children in highland dress

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to the Scottish Genealogy Society



The photo above is from an album that has been donated to the Scottish Genealogy Society.  The inscription on the front of the album reads 'AG Fraser, Edinburgh, 1889'.

Most of the photos in the album are from studios in Edinburgh.  A few are from studios in Musselburgh, Leven, Walthamstow and Forfar & Kirriemuir.

Here are more photos from the same album.

Do you have any idea which family this album might have belonged to?  If so, please e-mail me, then I'll pass your message on to the Scottish Genealogy Society.

Thank you.    -  Peter Stubbs:  January 14, 2007.


William Forrest

William Forrest described himself as Photographer and Enlarger.

Here is one of the post cards that he produced form his studio at Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh.

Post Card

Post Card Portraits  -  William Forrest

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce,
 please contact


Robert Smith Forrest

(26 March 1871 - 9 February 1943)


Robert Smith Forrest for three years from 1906-08 described himself in the Edinburgh trade directories as Photo Artist and Photographer.

Then until 1942 he described himself as Artist.

Throughout this period his address was: Raeburn House, 32 York Place.  A plaque on the wall of 32 York Place, carved in stone, says:

“In this house, built by him, 

Sir Henry Raeburn painted

from 1798 to 1809”


Thank you to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh, who has been investigating the history of Robert Smith Forrest,  for providing the following details.

Archie wrote:


further details

Here is how Robert Smith Forrest's occupation was described in different documents over the years:



His brother William is shown as Photographer App. [employed].

Photographic Artist (Employed)


Marriage Certificate 

His wife Edith Isabella MacRitchie is similarly described.

Photo. Artist


Birth Certificate, daughter

Photo Artist



Living at 5 Park Place, Trinity

Photographer (Employer)


Birth Certificate, son

Photo Artist


Birth Certificate, son (2)



Death Certificate, wife

Registered by son 2

Artist, Portrait


Marriage. Certificate, son (2)



Death Certificate, own

Registered by son2



Death Cert, son(2)


Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh,  March 29, 2006

Archie also wrote:


The person who commissioned this research is the husband of Robert Smith Forrest's granddaughter.

He said that Forrest had worked for the Royal Family at Holyrood and became a painter.  He thought that Robert Scott Forrest was an RSA but I have not been able to check this.

His wife's father (RSF's son) had an antique shop in the Royal Mile and the basement had hundreds of plates and equipment that had belonged to Forrest.

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh,  April 15, 2006





Thank you to Denis Perks, Toronto, Ontario, Canada for telling me more about Robert Smith Forrest's paintings.

Robert Smith Forrest


Denis wrote:

“I have an old oil painting of Edinburgh Castle and the Ross Fountain signed 'Robert Smith Forbes'.  I am trying to discover whether or not it is an original."

Denis Perks, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  November 3, 2009

Denis added:

“I've now found more information.  I believe that the man whose signature appears on my painting might be Robert Smith Forrest (1871-1943) who was also responsible for a watercolour portrait of King George V and Queen Mary, painted in 1911 and hanging in the Edinburgh City Chambers.

 I'm trying to locate a signature of other pieces of work so I can compare and authenticate.

Denis Perks, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  November 6, 2009






Robert Smith Forrest


Thank you to Marty Aldinger, Minnesota, USA, who read Dennis Parks' search for Robert Smith Forrest's signature, and sent me the etching below, together with an enlargement of RS Forrest's signature that appears at the foot of his etching.

Marty tells me that he purchased the etching some years back in Maddison, Wisconsin.  The etching is a view looking SE towards Edinburgh Castle from West Princes Street Gardens.  The Ross Fountain in the gardens is in the lower left corner of the picture.

Please click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge them


Etching of Edinburgh Castle by Robert Scott Forrest ©


Signature of Robert Scott Forrest, taken from the foot of his engraving of Edinburgh Castle ©

Marty Aldinger, Minnesota, USA:  December 20, 2009






Robert Smith Forrest

Painting and Etching

I emailed Denis Perks to let him know about 'Answer 1' above.

Denis replied:

"Thanks for the link.  The etching is of the same painting as I have.  That's amazing!

An auction house has stated that my painting, with the history I have accumulated so far, could fetch Can$800 to Can$1200 at auction.

I beleive the signatures appear to be the one and same."

Denis Perks, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:  December 26, 2009




Angus Murchison wrote:

Robert Smith Forrest

Portrait Painting

“This foot-square head and shoulders portrait was probably bought in an antique shop because of the attractive composure of the sitter.

It hung in my mother-in-law's house since 1939 or earlier, and on her death it passed to my wife .   As we are both fond of the picture it now hangs in our home. 

The signature 'R S Forrest' is on the bottom right corner but there is no indication regarding the identity of the sitter, or where or when it was painted.

Portrait Painting by the Edinburgh Artist and Photographer, RS Forrest ©

I'd be delighted if you could answer any of these questions."

Angus Murchison, Glasgow, Scotland:  December 21+23, 2010

Reply to Angus?

Please email me if you'd like to send a reply to Angus, then I'll pass on your message to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  December 31, 2010






Robert Smith Forrest

Thank you to Richard Torrance for providing a little more background to RS Forrest, and details of some of his paintings.

Richard wrote:

"Robert Smith Forrest, was born in Edinburgh on 29 March 1871 and died 9 Feb 1943.

He began as a photographer with a studio at 32 York Place, known as Raeburn Studio, from 1906 to 1908.

In 1911, he was commissioned by the Royal Burghs to paint a watercolour portrait of the King & Queen for their Convention at Holyrood.  This is now in Edinburgh City Chambers.

After 1927 Forrest turned increasingly to etching."

His etchings and Edinburgh topographical scenes, narrative subjects and portraits were exhibited at Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) between 1908 and 1959.

Richard Torrance, Edinburgh:  January 1, 2010




Linda Smiles

Thank you to Linda Smiles, a descendant of Robert Smith Forrest for sending me two etchings by Robert Smith Forrest, and for telling me that the signatures on these are almost identical to the signature on the etching in 'Question 1, Answer 1' above:

Signature of Robert Scott Forrest, taken from the foot of his engraving of Edinburgh Castle ©

Please click on the two thumbnail images below to see the etchings that Linda sent to me, and to read more about them.

Canongate Tolbooth

   Etching of Canongate Tolbooth, Edinburgh,  by Robert Smith Forrest ©

Chancellor Court

   Etching titled 'Chancellor Court'  by Robert Smith Forrest ©

Acknowledgement:  Linda Smiles, December 28, 2011


RS Forrest
Portrait Painting

RS Forrest