Saturday, March 8, 2014

William Heath Robinson: Some Rare Images
Illustration detail from a battle scene by W. Heath Robinson. 
From The Monarchs of Merry England, by Roland Carse, 1907.

Among my many influences, Heath Robinson's works have always been among the top three. 
The above detail shows not only his great skill as a draftsman and painter, 
but is as fresh and luminous as many contemporary digital illustrations. 

Now, I'm not one of those curmudgeonly critics who thinks good 
illustration ended with the Golden Age. I love it but 
am also fascinated by the amazing new works out there. 
Those will be for future posts. 

In the meantime, Heath Robinson's 
works deserve all the re-visiting they can get.  

Over the years, I've managed to collect some rare books that 
contain many of Robinson's lesser-known works. Seems a good idea to share a few;
therefore all of the pieces in this post are his.

Robinson's art is extremely eclectic, yet always retaining the stamp of 
his unique style and humor. Since I worry often about the variation in my own artwork, 
it's a comfort to see that Robinson's amazing talent and successful career 
was not damaged by his wide range of picture-making skills and interests.

Haystacks in the Snow
Since I've never seen this anywhere but in an old art catalog, not sure if it was a 
full color watercolor or originally done in black and white, but the piece is 
gorgeous nonetheless--worthy of Jean-Francois Millet.

This goofy little bird-man is from The Works of Rabelais 
which Robinson illustrated for Grant Richards in 1904.

I've always examined and learned from Robinson's full-color plates, 
but his pen and ink work is paragon, and his spot illustrations 
of goofy people burst with life and character.

This is a border decoration from 
the aforementioned Monarchs of Merry England... is this jumping Medieval Scotsman.

This little piper kills me. He marches along on a 
sheet music illustration--the whole thing shown below:

This is a beauty--a stunning pen work full of tiny elves 
peeping out of the trees and faery folk cavorting in the air.

A Hag from Witches and Fairies

Collapsible Bishop's Hat, from The Bystander, 1920

A Very Tremendous decoration 
from The Water Babies, 1915

Also from The Water Babies

From The Bystander, lampooning a proposed 
tunnel under the English Channel, 1919

And last, another brilliantly lit watercolor...
The Black Prince, After Crecy, from The Monarchs of Merry England.

For more on William Heath Robinson visit

Stay tuned for some future posts on some exciting contemporary illustrators.
And thanks for the visit!

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