The Heath Robinson: Dreams and Machines Exhibition follows on from the colourful Kaffe Fasset exhibition that has been at Mottisfont's gallery since September 2017.
Heath Robinson was an illustrator who was best known for the complex machines he dreamed up. Similar to a Rube Golberg machine (a contraption that consists of a series of devices each triggered by the last in a domino effect until the final task) Robinson's machines were elaborate and quite humorous. Robinson was prolific during the First World War, and produced many illustrations inspired by Britain's War Effort. Instead of illustrating the Battle of the Somme, Robinson designed a pedal powered shrapnel collector and tanks with deceptive sideways towns to trick German bombers.
Later on in his life, Robinson became known at the "Gadget King". His machines were only designed for wartime ingenuity. His machines were designed to perform a huge range of at times pointless tasks. The terms "Heath Robinson" or "Heath Robinson contraption" became well known as a term for any contraption that seemed far more complicated and complex than the task it was designed to perform.
Both in his life and after his death Robinson published many books and many books were published about his work. Many of these illustrations will be on show at the Mottisfont exhibition. There are over 60 of his works on show, and they aren't restricted to his black line illustrations. Some of Robinson's watercolour landscapes will be on display, and there's even a few illustrated Shakespeare scenes. The gallery is located on the second floor and is only accessible via the stairs, so if you're unable to climb the stairs you can still view digital versions of the exhibition on the iPads available downstairs.
If you're visiting the exhibition with your children, then you'll also want to check out the Heath Robinson inventions trail. Family trails are a popular activity at many National Trust locations, and on this one you'll learn even more about Robinson's wacky illustrations and enjoy some inventive activities. You'll even get the change to design your own contraption. The Heath Robinson inventions trail is £1 on top of regular admission.
The exhibition is free, but normal Mottisfont admission charges apply. These are £13.60 for adults, £6.80 for children, and £34.00 for families. National Trust members, Art Fund members and children under 5 are all free.
Mottisfont is located about 13 miles north of Southampton. As well as visiting the exhibition and family trail, you can also tour the house and garden during the day.