*

Infernal machines (part one)

In which we talk about a classic artist


A few months back, I saw, on a friend’s bookshelf, art books about members of the Robinson family: Charles Robinson and his better-known brother William Heath Robinson; and I resolved to write about them here. It’s taken me a while.

The wonderful thing about Heath Robinson’s work – apart from the army of identikit men who keep his machines running – is that everything looks entirely workable, in a certain sense. Everything looks as if it should fit together and run smoothly, especially with his little arrows and dashed lines to show that this moves that way, that cog turns like so, and the lever over on that side swings round to hit the golf ball over here.

The first place I came across Heath Robinson, though, I found him slightly unsatisfactory. In the 1930s he illustrated two children’s books by writer Norman Hunter, about an absent-minded inventor called Professor Branestawm, a creator of amazing, fantastical, physically impossible inventions. Robinson’s illustrations were just too possible – although they may well have worked, they could never have done everything described in the story. I was, as a child, disappointed. I much preferred his 1970s illustrator – but I’ll tell you about him another time.

Keyword noise: , , , , , , ,

*

2 comments on “Infernal machines (part one)”

  1. Martijn says:

    Hey, they’ve just bombed Grimsby to pieces in the worst attack in Britain since William the Conquerer and you are writing about soms bloody art people??

    (Sorry, inside joke. Had to post it.)

  2. Forest Pines says:

    Seeing as I’ve not been near any sources of news for a few days – even though we bought a radio in Exmouth we’ve hardly turned it on – it could have happened, for all I know…

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

*

Search this site

*

Contact

E: feedback [at] symbolicforest [dot] com

IM: Ask me if you'd like to know

*

Post Categories

Artistic (118)
Dear Diary (349)
Feeling Meh (48)
Geekery (109)
In With The Old (34)
Linkery (37)
Media Addict (164)
Meta (79)
Photobloggery (94)
Political (113)
Polling (7)
Sub category (19)
The Family (31)
The Office (70)
Unbelievable (53)