William Heath Robinson is an artist whose work, whether in his well known humorous drawings or his illustrations for Kipling, Shakespeare or children’s stories, is integral to British cultural heritage. His name entered the language as early as 1912 and is still in daily use to describe the kind of ad hoc contraptions that featured in many of his cartoons.
The museum has just launched a competition for children and young people is to design a fabulous gadget just like Heath Robinson used to. The museum is famed for its high and intricate ceilings, which look wonderful but come with their own problems so the museum’s challenge is to design a Heath Robinson style gadget that would help to change the light bulbs in rooms with high-ceilings.
The designs can be in the form of drawings, plans, animations or 3D models and each must be submitted as a good quality JPG via email. Entries will be judged in five age groups: 4-7, 8-11, 11-14, 14-18 and 18-25 year-olds. Shortlisted entries will then be displayed in an exhibition in the museum and the adjoining West House in September 2017, when a winner from each age group will be chosen. Deadline for entries is July 2017.
The museum’s permanent exhibition combines original artwork with books, photographs, film and digital media to tell the full story of Heath Robinson’s artistic career. It describes how, having established himself as a leading illustrator at the start of the 20th century, he was forced to turn to humorous drawing to maintain his income. He pursued both forms of art for several years, but humour eventually dominated. However, throughout his life he saw himself as a serious artist and painted landscapes and imagined scenes for his own enjoyment.
The Heath Robinson Museum is open to the public 11am-4pm on Thursday-Sunday and is a 10 minute walk from Pinner Underground station.
There are details of the competition and an entry form at the museum website.
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