Description

    Lavater's Beautiful Book on Physiognomy

    John [Johann] Caspar Lavater. Essays on Physiognomy. Designed to Promote the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind. Illustrated by more than eight hundred engravings accurately copied; and some duplicates added from originals. Executed by, or under the supervision of, Thomas Holloway. Translated from the French by Henry Hunter. London: Printed for John Murray [and] T. Bensley..., 1789-1810. First English editions of volumes I and II (first three volumes), later English edition of volume III (last two volumes). Three large quarto volumes bound in five. Approximately 13.5 x 11 inches. [12], [iv], [10], 281 [1, blank]; xii, 238; [vi], [239]-444; xii, 252; [vi], 253-437 [1, blank], [viii, Index], [4, Directions to the Binder] pages. Complete with 174 engraved plates by William Blake, Bartolozzi, Thomas Holloway and others, and many engraved illustrations and vignettes in the text, including three engraved title vignettes. All half-titles present. Contemporary full brown diced russia, covers triple-ruled in gilt and decoratively ruled in blind, spines ruled in gilt and tooled in gilt and blind, and lettered in gilt in compartments, ten raised bands, gilt board-edges and turn-ins, marbled endleaves. All volumes rebacked, preserving the original spines, some rubbing to bindings, a few short tears in text (none affecting images or text), some thumbsoiling, offsetting throughout. An excellent copy of this beautifully illustrated work.

    More Information:

    Lavater (1741-1801) "was the last and most influential of the descriptive physiognomists, a class of pseudo-scientists who attempted to ascertain character on the basis of physical features...Von der Physiognomik [1772], an unillustrated two-volume book, was Lavater's first work on the subject; this was later expanded, with the help of Goethe, into the four-volume Physiognomische Fragmente (1775-1778), and further perfected in a French translation, Essais sur la physiognomie...supervised by Lavater himself. Lavater's physiognomy differed from those of his predecessors in that he paid special attention to the structure of the head, particularly the forehead-a form of psychological indexing that exerted some influence on the development of phrenology and brain localization theories in the early nineteenth century. Lavater's work also influenced artists of the period, both in the overall creation of portraits, and in the use of his physiognomical theories to construct individual faces in historical paintings" (Norman Library). Lavater's work on physiognomy was extremely popular, and, by 1810, sixteen German, twenty English, fifteen French, two American, two Russian, one Dutch, and one Italian version had appeared. Among the portraits included are those of Descartes, Locke, Milton, Newton, Vesalius, Voltaire, and George Washington.

    Garrison and Morton. Norman Library. Osler.



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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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