The exhibition will show artwork from the children’s stories that Heath Robinson both wrote and illustrated. See the first signs of his inventive talents and meet a cast of strange and mysterious characters.
In 1902 Heath Robinson was commissioned by Grant Richards to write and illustrate a new children’s book and he took the episodic structure of Don Quixote as his model, with the hero embarking on a quest and each chapter introducing new characters. The book was The Adventures of Uncle Lubin.
In 1899 he had been one of the illustrators of a new edition of The Arabian Night’s Entertainments published in parts by George Newnes. When asked for a follow up book to Uncle Lubin he chose to write and illustrate versions of 12 of the tales adapted for young children. The Child’s Arabian Nights was published by Grant Richards in 1903.
From 1908 Heath Robinson was illustrating de luxe gift books full of coloured plates. Typical titles were Twelfth Night and Kipling’s Poems. However, in 1912 he wanted to see another children’s book that he had both written and illustrated in print. He turned to Constable & Co. who published Bill the Minder in 1912 in gift book format.
The fourth and last children’s book that he wrote was Peter Quip in Search of a Friend, another episodic story with the cast of characters that grew with each chapter. It was published by Partridge & Co. in 1922. However, in December 1915 Pearson’s Magazine had published a children’s story called ‘Biddulph: The Tale of a Magic Pool’ which he both wrote and illustrated.