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Entry to the Special Exhibition is included with your museum entry ticket.


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The 31st May 2022 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Heath Robinson. He 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. To mark this important anniversary, we shall be exhibiting a selection of his cartoons representing the wide range of his subjects and spanning his humorous output from 1905 to 1943.

During two World Wars he 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.

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.”

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Permanent Exhibition

Our permanent Heath Robinson exhibition combines original artwork with books, photographs, film & digital media to tell the full story of Heath Robinson’s artistic career.

30 Mar - 23 Jun

Modernist Magazine Illustration

With the start of the Second World War in 1914 Heath Robinson observed that “There was now no demand for purely artistic productions, for new editions of Shakespeare or other classics”. He was then dependent on humorous work for his income. However, from about 1925 respite from the constant need to be funny came from time to time with commissions to provide serious illustrations to short stories and articles in Nash’s Pall Mall Magazine and its sister publication Good Housekeeping.…

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