Under construction

Images from Plate 1 Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. (trans. Thomas Holcroft) London, 4th ed. c. 1844. Text additions from pp.33 - 35.


Fig. 1.-Whoever examines this countenance cannot but perceive in it the traits of fortitude, deep penetration, determined perseverance, and inventive genius. At least every one will acknowledge the truth of these observations, when made.

Moncrif MONCRIF.

Fig. 2.-There are few men, capable of observation, who will class this visage with the stupid. In the aspect, the eye, the nose, especially, and the mouth, are proofs, not to be mistaken, of the accomplished gentleman, and the man of taste.

Fig. 3, 4.-The most unpractised eye will easily discover in these two sketches of Johnson, the acute, the comprehensive, the capacious mind, not easily deceived, and rather inclined to suspicion than credulity.

Fig. 5.-Says as little as an outline can say; certainly not drawn in that position mllieh gives the decided character of a man; entirely deprived of all those shades which are, often, so wonderfully significant; yet, if so rude an outline ever can convey meaning, it does in the present instance ; and certainly, according to the physiognomonical sensation of all experienced people, it is at least a capacious head, easy of conception, and possessed of feelings quickly incited by the beautiful.


Fig. 6.-On the first view of this countenance, all will acknowledge Spalding was more than a common man; accurate, acute, and endowed with taste. Was he easily to be deceived? All will answer, no. Was he the friend of perplexed and obscure ideas ? Certainly not. Will he act worthily and wisely? If he acts agreeably to his countenance, certainly, yes.

Spalding Spalding in profile
The same will be said, whether viewed in front, or, in Profile, Fig. 7; the forehead, the eye, and the aspect, will appear, to the most uninformed, to betoken an elegant and reflective mind.
Shakspeare - sic. SHAKSPEARE. {sic.}

Fig. 8.-A copy of a copy: add, if you please, a spiritless, vapid outline. How deficient must all outlines be! Among ten thousand can one be found that is exact? Where is the outline that can portray genius? Yet who does not read, in this outline, imperfect as it is, from pure physiognomonical sensation, the clear, the capacious, the rapid mind; all conceiving, all embracing, that, with equal swiftness and facility, imagines, creates, produces.

Sterne STERNE.

Fig. 9.-The most unpractised reader will not deny to this countenance all the keen, the searching, penetration of wit; the most original fancy, full of fire, and the powers of invention. Who is so dull as not to view, in this countenance, somewhat of the spirit of poor Yorick


Fig. 10.-Perspicuity, benevolence, dignity, serenity, dispassionate meditation, the powers of conception, and perseverance, are the most apparent characteristics of this countenance. He who can hate such a face must laboriously counteract all those physiognomonical sensations with which he was born.

S. Clarke S. Clarke in Profile Fig. 11.-As is the full face, so is the profile; how emphatically does this confirm our judgment! To whom are not this forehead and this nose the pledges of a sound and penetrating understanding; this mouth, this chin, of benevolence, a noble mind, fidelity, and friendship