The Gentle Art of Excavating. W. Heath Robinson.
The Gentle Art of Excavating
The Gentle Art of Excavating
The Gentle Art of Excavating
The Gentle Art of Excavating

The Gentle Art of Excavating

Lincoln, England: Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd., ca. 1945. Robinson, W. Heath. Wraps. Quarto size, [12] pp., with typed letter from Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd. Near fine. Item #CNJWEM066

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was an exemplary book illustrator and cartoonist, "the only British illustrator to become a 'household name' " (Houfe), a contemporary of acclaimed illustrators Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, best known for his cartoons portraying elaborate and whimsical machinary made to complete simple tasks. In fact, his fame was such that the term "Heath Robinson" was used in the United Kingdom to refer to such machinary, much as the term "Rube Goldberg" was used in the United States.

Robinson did many humourous illustrations for various companies, such as Connolly Bros. (manufacturers of high-end leather goods), this done for Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd., "Excavator Specialists". Herein Robinson not only did the many illustrations (all in brown, with six full-page and other small vignettes), but also wrote the text which traces the historical "development" of tools designed to dig and excavate, for the purposes of removing topsoil, cleaning out the bottom of rivers, preparing the foundations for building, excavating for new roads - and more.

Accompanying the booklet is a typed letter on the company letterhead for Ruston-Bucyrus, Ltd, referring to the book as a "Humorous book on Excavators by the late W. Heath Robinson".

Scarce; neither Copac nor OCLC locate any copies, there are no online copies as of this writing, Rare Book Hub locates two auction records. Not in Beare.

___DESCRIPTION: String-bound booklet with light tan textured cardstock wraps, brown lettering on the front cover, title page with a small vignette ("The inventor of the mechanical shovel trying out an early type"), following are four pages of text with eight small vignettes in the margins, interspersed with the six full-page illustrations, the final page having an additional larger vignette, all illustrations and type in brown; quarto size (10.75" by 8.75"), unpaginated with six leaves. The letter from the company is on their letterhead with a stamped signature of "T.W. Broughton, Publicity Division"; 10 7/8" by 8".

___CONDITION: Near fine, the string binding strong, the wraps mostly clean with just a few light spots of scattered soil, and free of prior owner markings; a few light creases to the wraps, the top outer corner of the pages with a shallow crease throughout. The typed letter also near fine, some light edgewear, a few spots of foxing, and two pencilled markings by a prior owner. Overall a near fine example of a scarce W. Heath Robinson item.

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Price: $600.00

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