Biography

W. Heath Robinson – Illustrations for Midsummer Night’s Dream 1914

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William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator best known for drawings of ridiculously complicated machines for achieving simple objectives.

In the UK, the term “Heath Robinson” entered the popular language during the 1914–1918 First World War as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance, much as “Rube Goldberg machines” came to be used in the United States from the 1920s onwards as a term for similar efforts. “Heath Robinson contraption” is perhaps more often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations.

W. Heath Robinson is not only famous by his children’s book illustrations, but also by his whimsical and humorous illustrations during his long and illustrious career.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96. The play consists of multiple subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot revolves around a conflict between four Athenian lovers, one about a group of six amateur actors who has to act out their interpretation of the play ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

These subplots take place in a forest, inhabited by fairies who control the characters of the play. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Presenting The Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. First edition, published by Constable & Sons, London, 1914. With 40 illustrations by the versatile illustrator William Heath Robinson. 

Art Gallery: W. Heath Robinson – Midsummer Night’s Dream 1914

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