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Adam Hart-Davis, Very Heath Robinson

Adam Hart-Davis, Very Heath Robinson

Book Tickets

Friday 4 Jan 20197:45pm Book Now

Oundle Festival of Literature present

Adam Hart-Davis

Very Heath Robinson


Friday, 4th January, at 19:45

St Peter's Church, Oundle

North Street, PE8 4AL

This book takes a nostalgic look back to the imaginative world of William Heath Robinson, one of the few artists to have given his name to the English language. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression Heath Robinson is used to describe ‘any absurdly ingenious and impracticable device’. Very Heath Robinson is full of quirky contraptions for lighting cigars, making coffee, extinguishing candles and generally making everyday life easy. You can even mow the lawn in comfort thanks to the super deluxe Ransomes’ motor mower, complete with wireless, drinks cabinet and tiffin table.


A dozen collections of Heath Robinson’s work have been published over the last 80 years, starting in his lifetime, but most have been compilations of pictures with minimal text. Very Heath Robinson is the first to explain the technical and social background out of which the pictures grew and to weave art and history into a connected story.

Adam Hart-Davis is the perfect person to set the artist’s mechanical fantasies in context, to tell the stories of rapid technological and social change that lay behind Heath Robinson’s idiosyncratic brand of satire and to laugh along with the jokes. He has even built his own Heath Robinson-style machine.