Wednesday, 16 December 2015

W. Heath Robinson – part 16

William Heath Robinson (1872 – 1944) was an English illustrator and cartoonist, best known for his drawings of complicated machines for achieving simple objectives. “Heath Robinson Contraption” is a phrase that entered the language during WW1 in Britain, and later in the United States.


William wrote and illustrated three highly successful children’s books (The Adventures of Uncle Lubin 1902, Bill the Minder 1912, Peter Quip in Search of a Friend 1933) as well as illustrating numerous others.

In the run up to WW1, Robinson became known for a series of drawings in magazines such as The Sketch and The Tatler, many of which I will be featuring in this comprehensive look at his work.


This is part 16 of a 20 – part series on the works of W. Heath Robinson



1921 Peter Quip in Search of a Friend: The Air-Ship ink and watercolour 20.5 x 15.2 cm

1921 The Home-Made Car ink over pencil and grey wash on illustration board 39.1 x 28.3 cm Library of Congress, Washington, DC

1921 The Home-Made Car ink over pencil and grey wash on illustration board 41.2 x 28.1 cm Library of Congress, Washington, DC


1922 Quaint and Selected Pictures:


Front Cover

A busy day in the constructing vaults of a model silk hat arsenal

An ideal home, with some novel furniture notions

The latest machine for tipping matches with phosphorus (Amorphous of non-poisonous)

1923 Topsy-Turvy Tales:


Front Cover

Title Page

"Skinnemelink" - And in it She Floated Home Safely
pen and ink wash 22.2 diameter (image) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"And It Glared at the Dear Old Woman" Hanky Panky
pen and ink wash 37.5 x 27.3 cm (image) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"He Made for the Door" The Chocolate Ghost
pen and ink wash 34.9 x 19.7 cm (image) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Hitherto I Have Performed it Myself" Six Dead Secrets
pen and ink wash 34.9 x 24.1 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Over Farms and Fields and Rivers and Ponds" Cosey Hokie
pen and ink wash 36.8 x 26.7 cm (sheet) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Some Busybody Will Come Along" The Kelpie of Snooziepod
pen and ink wash 36.8 x 21.6 cm (sheet) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Splashing happily in the water"

"Take to your heels before it is too late!" Hanky Panky

"Then up and off again"

"They Heard Six Voices Calling Them Back" Two Wee Pogeys
pen and ink wash 34.3 x 24.4 cm (sheet) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"Who Got it from the Fruit-woman" Peeriewinkie the Puudock
pen and ink wash 36.8 x 23.8 cm (sheet) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Peerwinki
watercolour and gouache 37.5 x 24.8 cm (image) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Six Dead Secrets
watercolour and gouache 36.5 x 24.8 cm (image) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Tailpiece
pen and ink 11.4 x 11.1 cm (sheet) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

*            *            *            *            *

1924 published in "Hutchinson's Magazine"
pen and ink and watercolour (b & w) 44.4 x 30.5 cm

1924 Holed Out
pen and ink and watercolour 37.5 x 27.3 cm

1925 published in 'Holly Leaves' "The Fairy's Birthday" 
pen and ink and watercolour

1925 published in 'The Bystander "Casabianca of the Links"
pen and ink and watercolour 38.1 x 27.3 cm

1925 published in 'The Bystander' March 1925 "1 across !!!!"
watercolour 36.8 x 27.3 cm

1925 "The Fall of Przemysl"
ink over pencil, grey wash and opaque white on illustration board 43.4 x 32.7 cm Library of Congress, Washington, DC

1926 "How to train yourself to avoid being caught"

1927 published in 'The Bystander' April 1927 "An Unrecorded eclipse of the sun - an astronomical note"
pen and ink and watercolour (black & white) 38.1 x 26.6 cm

1927 published in 'The Humorist' July 1927 "Necessity is the mother of invention"
pen and ink 38.1 x 30.5 cm

1929 Nash's Pall Mall Magazine

1929 "Testing Artificial Teeth"
pen and ink and watercolour (black & white)

1930 published in 'Passing Snow'
"Noble Effort by the Italian Colony in London to Make a 'Do' of the Italian Exhibition at Burlington House
pen and ink and watercolour (b & w) 35.6 x 25.4 cm

1932 published in 'The Humorist' "Luncheon Hour on the Embankment"
pen and ink 42.5 x 33.7 cm

1933 published in 'Good Housekeeping' August 1933
pen and ink and watercolour 36.8 x 8 cm

1933 published  in 'The Humorist' April 1933
"The language of eggs - some new designs for Easter eggs to
facilitate the exchange of graceful sentiments and amourous messages"
pen and Ink 43.2 x 34.9 cm

1933 published in 'The Humorist' December 1933
pen and ink 41.3 x 33 cm

1933 Shepherd's Hill, Highgate


1933 The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm:


Front Cover

A Great Success

Dreaming - That he Was Going Along in a Nicely Cushioned Boat

He Dashed After the Elephant
 pen and ink 12.7 x 22.9 cm

On and On They Whirled -

The Professor's Invention for Peeling Potatoes

The Professor's Magnetic Suspenders
pen and ink 20.3 x 11.4 cm

The Professor's Trouser Elevator

- Was Handing Them a Cup of Tea Each

With Nothing on at All But a Big Smile

*            *            *            *            *

1935 published in 'The Humourist' January 1935 "The New Year's Bedroom Suite de Luxe"
pen and ink 41.3 x 33 cm

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