Humour of “Gadget King” Heath Robinson exhibition opens

31st May 2022 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Heath Robinson, and to mark the occasion, the Heath Robinson Museum is hosting a new exhibition, The Humour of William Heath Robinson, open now, which will run until September.

"Deceiving the Invader as to the State of the Tide" | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
“Deceiving the Invader as to the State of the Tide” | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum

A special event, “It’s All a Bit Heath Robinson”, for all ages, will also mark the day on 31st May.

William Heath Robinson was trained as an artist at the Royal Academy Schools, and as past exhibitions at the Museum have shown, he was a great illustrator and a highly accomplished painter in watercolours, but it is as a humorous artist that he is best known.

"The Folding Garden" by William Heath Robinson
“The Folding Garden” by William Heath Robinson

To mark this important anniversary, a selection of his cartoons is on display in this temporary exhibition, representing the wide range of his subjects and spanning his humorous output from 1905 to 1943.

During two World Wars Robinson deployed irony and satire to counter German propaganda and to bring a little mirth into the otherwise painful lives of servicemen and civilians. Both greatly appreciated his efforts. A similar dry humour was used to satirise the pomposity and fussiness of those who took themselves too seriously. He was modest and gentle, qualities that shine through in his humour.

Magazine Illustration | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
Magazine Illustration | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
A Christmas Deed of Kindness by Willim Heath Robinson | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
A Christmas Deed of Kindness by Willim Heath Robinson | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
Testing artificial-teeth in a modern tooth works | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum
Testing artificial teeth in a modern tooth works | Image: William Heath Robinson Museum

As a review of his memorial exhibition in The Times in 1945 commented, “What may be unexpected in this exhibition is the fineness of Heath Robinson’s craftsmanship – the clean and firm fluency of his pen line and the quality of his watercolour washes. Those who have known his work only in reproduction will be surprised at its technical excellence.”

It’s All a Bit Heath Robinson

In celebration of the150th anniversary of the “Gadget King” Heath Robinson’s birth, the Museum is hosting a birthday “party” for families and children.

This will be a whacky fair, where in true Gadget King fashion, art meets science, with an exhibition of Heath Robinson’s best humorous work, a display of Meccano models, art and design activities alongside all sorts of zany engineering challenges: Build the tallest structure, or fastest/ slowest/ wobbliest vehicles out of junk or K’nex. Large interactive gadgets will be demonstrated in the park too.

2022 Heath Robinson 150th Anniversary Poster

The star attraction is internet/ media sensation, Joseph Herscher of www.josephsmachines fame. Joseph will talk about his “Heath Robinson” machines and run a workshop for families/ children; who will be challenged to build their own machine (out of junk) and culminate in attempts to connect all the machines in one long transfer of energy to achieve a simple task – very Heath Robinson.

The Humour of Heath Robinson runs at the Heath Robinson Museum until 4th September 2022 | Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner Memorial Park, 50 West End Lane, Pinner HA5 1AE | Web: | Entry to the Special Exhibition is included with your museum entry ticket

Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday: The museum is open Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th June 2022 as usual

“It’s all a bit Heath Robinson” A 150th birthday Celebration of Gadgets, Games and General Mayhem |12.00 noon – 4.00 pm 31st May 2022

BBC News: William Heath Robinson: London exhibition celebrates cartoonist

Categories: Art and Illustration, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions, Other Worlds

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