George Combe, 1788 - 1858. Phrenologist

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George Combe, 1788 - 1858. Phrenologist about 1843
  • Scottish Art
George Combe worked briefly as a lawyer and a brewer before devoting his career to the promotion of phrenology; a pseudo-science which explored the relation between the shape of someone’s skull and their personality, intelligence and economic prospects. Although even at the time many people doubted the ‘scientific’ evidence for such assumptions, Combe believed that phrenology was ‘the greatest and most important discovery ever communicated to mankind’. He published widely on the subject, and his book ‘The Constitution of Man’ became something of a bestseller. In 1833 he married Cecilia Siddons, but only after subjecting both himself and his future bride to a phrenological examination in order to find out if the match was a suitable one.


  • Acc. No. PGP HA 626
  • Medium Carbon print
  • Size 20.50 x 15.40 cm
  • Credit Elliot Collection, bequeathed 1950