If a British person says "It's a real Heath Robinson", they are referring to a system, process, machine or device which is unnecessarily complicated and difficult to work out, usually with a very simple result. The term comes from W. Heath Robinson (the W is for William), an English illustrator and cartoonist who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, and who was best known for his elaborate drawings of intricate and bizarrely complex machinery.
Robinson was born into a family of artists in 1872. His father, grandfather and uncle all made their livings through art, via drawing or engraving. Robinson was educated at Islington Art School and the Royal Academy. He illustrated dozens of books, from famous works like Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night's Dream to lesser-known volumes such as The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm and Plantation Barn Dance. Robinson wrote some of his own books, as well, the first among them being 1902's The Adventures of Uncle Lubin.
At various points throughout his career, Robinson's illustrative styles differed tremendously, ranging from simple, spartan linework, to large areas of solid light or shadow in watercolor, to lavish and detailed full-page scenes including the swirls, curves and florals characterizing the Art Nouveau movement. He would make striking use of white space in one illustration, then fill every space of the next with texture and color.
If you'd like to learn more, we recommend the book The Art of William Heath Robinson by Geoffrey Beare.