Stained plaster phrenological bust

1821 in Strand
James DeVille

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Stained plaster phrenological bust by James DeVille (1777-1846), 1821. Marked with 35 organs according to Johann Gaspar
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Sealed plaster phrenological bust by James DeVille (1777-1846), 367 Strand, London, England, 1821. Marked with 35 organs according to Johann Gaspar Spurzheim’s (1776-1832) arrangement with the numbers of the organs impressed and some of their names written on in ink.

Divided according to the system of German phrenologist Johann Spurzheim (1776-1832), this plaster phrenological head has 35 different ‘organs’. Phrenologists believed that different parts, or ‘organs’, of the brain had different qualities. They further believed that an individual’s personality could be read from the lumps and bumps in the skull. The head was made by James DeVille (1777-1846), a phrenologist based in the Strand, London. DeVille had over five thousand phrenological heads at his premises.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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

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