Heath Robinson - Heath Robinson’s Helpful Solutions (4 stars)

(Cartoon Museum)

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Given the relative dearth of books about the brilliant English humour cartoonist Heath Robinson, it’s heartening to see London’s Cartoon Museum publishing a heavily illustrated catalogue (with an informative essay by Simon Heneage, founder of the Museum’s parent organisation the Cartoon Art Trust). The deeply ironic title refers to the overarching preoccupation in Robinson’s work – the enormous disproportion between ends and means – as exemplified in the cartoons detailing crazy contraptions and regaling chivalric deeds. In the Scottish themed ‘Getting the Wind Up’, for example, a canny bagpiper scales a tower to kiss his Rapunzel by means of self-inflating his musical instrument.

The pleasantly absurd humour is at once antiquated and funnier than ever, while the minutely detailed line art is absolutely exquisite. This coffee table format book beautifully reproduces a ‘best of’ selection that takes in Robinson’s cartoons from the late 19th century and on through both World Wars. It’s a must-have.
(Miles Fielder)

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