To mark the 150th Anniversary of the birth of William Heath Robinson, and to coincide with our Laughter Lab exhibition, we will be joined by Geoffrey Beare - Collection and Exhibitions Manager at The Heath Robinson Museum to discuss the humour of William Heath Robinson.
The talk will explain how this serious artist and illustrator turned to humour to fill a gap in his income and how it came to be his primary source of income. It will track the way his style of humour developed from satires of symbolist painting through absurd and surreal scenes of daily life. 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.
Although he was dubbed ‘The Gadget King’ the primary subject matter for Heath Robinson’s humorous work was not gadgets and contraptions, but the human condition, the workings of fate and the weakness and self-importance of man.