Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Emett, Rowland

(1906-1990) UK artist and inventor. A fine cartoonist, he was also a draughtsman and engineer. He became known for his succession of large, incredibly intricate "Gothic-Kinetic" inventions. Unlike W Heath Robinson, who merely drew his eccentric contraptions, RE regularly created three-dimensional working models.

The amazing success of his Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway at the Festival of Britain in 1951 led to many more commissions, including permanent constructions like "The Rhythmical Time Fountain" at Nottingham, UK, and models built for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). His "Honeywell-Emett Forget-Me-Not" resides at the Ontario Science Museum in Toronto.

RE's imaginative fantasy about a china pig and a railway engine, Anthony and Antimacassar (1943), with text by his wife Mary Emett, was followed by a series of books collecting his bizarre drawings of railways (and on related themes) from Punch: Engines, Aunties & Others (1943), Sidings, and Suchlike (1946), Home Rails Preferred (1947), Saturday Slow (1948), Buffers End (1949), Far Twittering (1949), High Tea (1950) and The Forgotten Tramcar (1952). A US omnibus was Emett's Domain – Trains, Trams and Englishmen (1953). RE's most popular engine became the subject of a "special" story he wrote and illustrated, Nellie Come Home (1952; vt New World for Nellie US). [RD]

other works: The Early Morning Milk Train (1976); Alarms and Excursions (1977); Emett's Ministry of Transport (1981).

Rowland Emett


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.