William Heath Robinson’s Life of Line

8 March — 3 June 2016

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William Heath Robinson was an illustrator of enormous range and charm. The RA Library Print Room presents his evocative book illustrations that reveal his mastery of black and white line.

The artist attended the Royal Academy Schools from 1892 until 1897 and originally aspired to be a serious landscape painter. Family connections with Fleet Street, however, soon led to commissions as an illustrator and his particular blend of stylish draughtsmanship and inventive imagination proved well suited to this genre.

Absurdity and nonsense are never far away in Robinson’s work as imaginary, impish characters appear alongside beautifully balanced designs. Robinson was haunted by whimsical characters who lead him into all sorts of adventures. One in particular, Uncle Lubin (1902), first brought his distinctive humour to the public’s notice.

In this display, a selection of his early graphic works for children’s classic literature including The Water Babies (1915) and Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1913), can be seen alongside familiar book illustrations and cartoons from his later career showing examples of his famous contraptions. Printed ephemera and First Editions from the RA Collection complement the drawings which are on loan from the Heath Robinson Museum, soon to open in Harrow, North London.

Please note, the exhibition will be closed on Friday 25 March.

8 March — 3 June 2016

Tuesday – Friday
10am – 1pm and 2 – 5pm

RA Library Print Room

Admission: Complimentary entry with a valid Royal Academy exhibition ticket or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.