Heath Robinson edited by Geoffrey Beare
Price: £
  • Hardback
20 Oct 2011
  • Art, Design & Photography
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A collection of the most brilliant and memorable work by one of the most inventive minds in illustration and cartoon wizardry.

Heath Robinson’s cartoons of crazy inventions captured the British imagination on their publication at the turn of the 20th century. This was the age of the machine, and Heath Robinson’s slightly mad inventions were perfect reflections of the creativity and industrious work taking place during the era. Ingeniously devised, they also required the operation of the very decent, solid chaps with paunches, moustaches and important bottoms who fell in love with his drawings. These men featured in all of his works - pushing levers, tugging pulleys, working ratchets and oiling cogs. A champion of pragmatic man, he had a wonderful eye for essentially British types.

This distinguished volume of Robinson’s art covers the breadth of his comic work, from his early musings on the state of British industries and his very first inventions, through the mocking, anti-German propaganda created during the First World War, to the final sketches of the Second, during which he died. Contraptions is a definitive collection that will enchant future generations for as long as machines remain machines and human beings need reminding that that is all they will ever be.


'All of Heath Robinson’s technical skill, all his little details and touches and flourishes, can be enjoyed for once without the aid of a microscope … the cartoon as art' The Independent

W. Heath Robinson

About W. Heath Robinson

W Heath Robinson began his career illustrating works of poetry by Poe and Kipling, later working on children’s books, including Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Water Babies and Perrault’s Fairy Tales. Later, working for magazines such as The Sketch, he developed a penchant for humorous illustrations for adults, culminating in the creation of a series of complex, yet inspired contraptions for which he is best remembered today, and for which he became known by his contemporaries as ‘The Gadget King’.

Titles by W. Heath Robinson
Other titles by W. Heath Robinson

Geoffrey Beare

About Geoffrey Beare

Geoffrey Beare is an operations research scientist in the Ministry of Defence. He has been collecting and studying the work of William Heath Robinson for many years. Initially attracted by Heath Robinson’s book illustrations, he has researched and written about all aspects of the artist’s work. He is a trustee of the William Heath Robinson Trust. Most recently he curated the exhibition of Heath Robinson’s work at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2003, which has been touring the UK ever since, and wrote the book that accompanied the exhibition. Geoffrey pursues his more general interest in the history of book illustration through the Imaginative Book Illustration Society, of which he is chairman.