Phrenological head made from a skull

1815-1900 in France

Phrenological head, made from a skull, labelled in French, with an Italian summary, according to Spurzheim's system (35 divisions) 1815-1900

Phrenology was the study of the various measurements of the skull to determine character traits. Developed by Franz Joseph Gall at the turn of the 19th century, it quickly gained repute, although also attracted derision. Gall worked with Johann Spurzheim, who made certain alterations to the earlier system, increasing the number of organs and changing some of the names of the sections of the brain.

This phrenological head was made from the skull of a real person, thought to be a woman who died in her 20s.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.


Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
phrenological heads
Loan, Wellcome Trust

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.