The museum celebrates the life and works of William Heath Robinson, acclaimed British illustrator, artist, cartoonist and social historian, who lived in Pinner from 1908-18.
The artist's name has become synonymous with the odd contraptions and implausible machinery that featured in his humorous cartoons, but he also made a major contribution to the revolution in book design, illustration and decoration in the years before the First World War.
The museum opened in 2016 with a display of over 900 original works by Heath Robinson, spanning 40 years and covering the full range of his oeuvre.
When Heath Robinson’s eldest daughter Joan died, her husband decided her collection of her father’s work should be put into public ownership and in 1992 the William Heath Robinson Trust was formed. The original collection included about 500 pieces of original artwork together with an archive of letters, association copies and special editions of the books that he illustrated, proof prints, advertising booklets and ephemera.
Thanks to grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund, in 2015 the William Heath Robinson Trust was able to purchase some 400 additional important works for the museum, bringing the collection to nearly 1,000. It is the only substantial collection of the artist’s work in public ownership.
The displays feature copies of the many books he worked on, examples of his advertisements, correspondence (including letters from Rudyard Kipling and HG Wells), photographs, designs for nursery china and his private watercolours.