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85/256 Phrenological bust, ceramic, made by L N Fowler, London, England, 1879-1896. Click to enlarge.

Phrenological bust

Made
Would you believe a phrenologist's claims about your personality based on feeling the bumps on your skull? This bust was made in the 1850s by Lorenzo Fowler, a leading exponent of the pseudo-science of phrenology. He exploited gaps in understanding of the brain's functions at a time when scientists were debating whether they occur in fixed brain regions. Neuroscientists now think that most functions depend on both localisation and interconnection between regions, but there has never been any …

Summary

Object No.

85/256

Object Statement

Phrenological bust, ceramic, made by L N Fowler, London, England, 1879-1896

Physical Description

Ceramic phrenological bust, white with transfer lettering, black and blue lining.

Marks

On bottom front: `Phrenology by L.N. Fowler/L.N. FOWLER/LUDGATE CIRCUS/LONDON/ENTERED AT STATIONERS HALL'.
On back in black lettering: `FOR THIRTY YEARS I have studied crania and living heads from all parts of the world and have found in every instance that there is a perfect correspondence between the confirmation of the healthy skull of an indiviual and his known characteristics. To make my observations available I have prepared a bust of superior form and marked the divisions of the organs in accordance with my researches and varied experience. L.N. Fowler. (OF)

Dimensions

Height

300 mm

Width

145 mm

Depth

165 mm

History

Notes

Viennese physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) proposed that the contours of the skull followed the brain's shape, each region controlling an aspect of personality or behaviour. Feeling the lumps was like reading the mind. He called his system organology, but it was later known as phrenology, derived from the Greek 'phren': mind. By the 1850s interest in phrenology had declined, but the American brothers Lorenzo N Fowler (1811-1896) and Orson S Fowler (1809-1887) revived it in the 1860s. Their phrenological head provided a three-dimensional reference guide to assist the reading of a subject's skull. The Fowlers lectured throughout Britain and established several phrenological institutions and societies.

Bascially the study of Phrenology was driven by the desire to understand our mysterious brain – and to make money.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1985

Acquisition Date

27 February 1985

Cite this Object

Harvard

Phrenological bust 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 2 December 2021, <https://ma.as/40842>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/40842 |title=Phrenological bust |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=2 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}