Robinson, W. Heath (William Heath), 1872-1944

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William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was born into a family of artists and craftsmen in Islington, North London. After a failed attempt to establish himself as a landscape painter, he became an illustrator, joining his father and older brothers Tom and Charles in the trade. His early work includes illustrations for Hans Christen Andersen's fairy tales (1897), Don Quixote (1897 and 1902), The Arabian nights (1899), and the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe (1900); a brief association with the publisher Grant Richards led to the publication of a children's book which Robinson both illustrated and wrote, The adventures of Uncle Lubin (1902). More ambitious illustrations include those for Shakespeare's Twelfth night (1908) and Midsummer night's dream (1914), Kipling's A song of the English (1909), Kingsley's The water-babies (1915), and the works of Rabelais (1904). After World War I, the market for finely illustrated books declined and Robinson turned toward humorous subjects, producing illustrations for weeklies including The tattler, The bystander, and The sketch. Today, he is best known for his drawings of overly complicated machines that carry out simple and often ridiculous tasks; the contraptions known as Rube Goldberg machines in the United States are referred to as Heath Robinsons in Britain.

From the description of [Unpublished drawings and proofs for the child's Arabian nights] / W. Heath Robinson. [1903?] (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 65563571

Biography

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was born into a family of artists and craftsmen in Islington, North London. After a failed attempt to establish himself as a landscape painter, he became an illustrator, joining his father and older brothers Tom and Charles in the trade. His early work includes illustrations for Hans Christen Andersen's Fairy Tales (1897), Don Quixote (1897 and 1902), The Arabian Nights (1899), and The Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe (1900); a brief association with the publisher Grant Richards led to the publication of a children's book which Robinson both illustrated and wrote, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin (1902). More ambitious illustrations include those for Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" (1908) and "Midsummer Night's Dream" (1914), Kipling's A Song of the English (1909), Kingsley's The Water-Babies (1915), and The Works of Rabelais (1904). After World War I, the market for finely illustrated books declined and Robinson turned toward humorous subjects, producing illustrations for weeklies including The Tattler, The Bystander, and The Sketch . Today, he is best known for his drawings of overly complicated machines that carry out simple and often ridiculous tasks; the contraptions known as Rube Goldberg machines in the United States are referred to as Heath Robinsons in Britain.

From the guide to the W. Heath Robinson, The Child's Arabian Nights, [1903?], (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn W. Heath Robinson, The Child's Arabian Nights, [1903?] University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
referencedIn Hodder and Stoughton. Hodder and Stoughton records, 1875-1914. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Hodder and Stoughton Records, 1875-1914 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Saville family,. [Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Robinson, W. Heath (William Heath), 1872-1944. William Heath Robinson : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Ohio State University. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. W. Heath Robinson biographical file. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Horwood, Alfred J. (Alfred John), 1821-1881. Horwood's transcription of Fet Asaver, ca. 1850. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
creatorOf W. Heath Robinson, The Child's Arabian Nights, [1903?] University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
referencedIn Inventory of The Legion Papers: Rare MSS 00149 ., 1927-1935 Cushing Memorial Library,
creatorOf Robinson, W. Heath (William Heath), 1872-1944. [Unpublished drawings and proofs for the child's Arabian nights] / W. Heath Robinson. University of California, Los Angeles
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Hodder and Stoughton. corporateBody
associatedWith Horwood, Alfred J. (Alfred John), 1821-1881. person
associatedWith Minchin, Humphrey Cotton person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Robinson, W. Heath, 1872-1944 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Art, British
Art--British (?)--Reproductions
Occupation
Bookseller
Function

Person

Birth 1872-05-31

Death 1944-09-13

Britons

English

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