'The Physiognomist' print

Made:
1831 in London
artist:
George Spratt
and
George E Madeley
publisher:
Charles Tilt
Print. The Physiognomist. / G. Spratt delt. ; G.E. Madeley Lith. 3 Wellington St Strand. ; Published by C. Tilt, Fleet Print. The Physiognomist. / G. Spratt delt. ; G.E. Madeley Lith. 3 Wellington St Strand. ; Published by C. Tilt, Fleet

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Print. The Physiognomist. / G. Spratt delt. ; G.E. Madeley Lith. 3 Wellington St Strand. ; Published by C. Tilt, Fleet
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Print. The Physiognomist. / G. Spratt delt. ; G.E. Madeley Lith. 3 Wellington St Strand. ; Published by C. Tilt, Fleet
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Hand-coloured lithograph print, The Physiognomist, drawn by George Spratt and lithographed by G.E. Madeley, of 3 Wellington St Strand, published by C. Tilt, of Fleet Street, 1831. This personification print depicts a physiognomical or phrenological lecture in progress. The lecturer is seated at a kneehole desk, facing left, and is made from a variety of heads including turbanned and female. An audience awaits consultation on the other side of the desk, a green carpet beneath. Inscription below.

‘Personifications’ are illustrations of people made up from the tools of their trade or the objects they are normally associated with. In this example, the main character’s body is made up from a number of different shapes and sizes of male and female heads. As the title suggests, this shows the practice of physiognomy – using facial characteristics to determine personality. It could also show the study of phrenology. Phrenologists believed that the shape and size of various areas of the brain (and therefore the overlying skull) determined personality. In the audience, a black woman is awaiting consultation, an unusual feature in English prints from the 1830s.

The artist George Spratt was also a man-midwife and collaborated on a number of these drawings with the lithographer G E Madeley and the publisher and bookseller Charles Tilt.

Details

Category:
Art
Object Number:
2002-611
Materials:
cardboard mount and paper (fibre product)
type:
print
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • print
  • planographic print
  • visual and verbal communication
credit:
Grosvenor Prints