Theseus. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace”, an illustration for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1914.
We are building a museum in Pinner, North London that will become the national and international centre for the understanding and appreciation of the life and work of William Heath Robinson and a unique centre for the wider study of illustration as an art form. William Heath Robinson is an artist of international standing and his work, whether in his well known humorous drawings or his illustrations for Kipling, Shakespeare or his own children’s stories, is integral to the fabric of British cultural heritage. . The Museum’s collection includes over 900 pieces of original artwork that are representative of all aspects of his creative output, including some of the landscapes and imaginative watercolours that he painted throughout his life for his own pleasure. These are complemented by a wide range of his published work, nursery china with his designs, ephemera including proofs, prints, cuttings, photographs etc. and 25 folders of letters. A flexible touring exhibition of between 60 and 100 works was first shown at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2003 and has been touring ever since.
Heath Robinson trained at the Royal Academy Schools. His ambition was to become a landscape painter, but he was forced to enter the field of commercial art to earn a living. He excelled as a serious illustrator during the ‘Golden Age’ of illustration from 1895 to 1914, standing alongside such artists as Rackham and Dulac. In parallel with this work, economic necessity led him to develop a reputation as one of the leading comic artists of the day. His work was published not just in the UK but in Europe and America. His immediate appeal and general popularity during his lifetime resulted mainly from his humorous work and in this field he was both brilliant and unique. He was an unusually prolific and versatile artist with a seemingly inexhaustible stock of good ideas. But like artists such as Hogarth and Rowlandson before him, the secret of his appeal lay in his great abilities as a serious artist.
Contact Heath Robinson Museum (The)