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.

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. Johann Caspar. Blake Lavater, William, engraver.
Lavater’s “Physiognomy” With Four Engravings by William Blake
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, 1789-1798. First Edition in English. Three quarto volumes in five (339 x 272mm). Bound by J. Bohn in a close-to-contemporary diced Russian calf binding. Some of the joints reinforced and now all volumes holding well. Complete as to the text (and with all five half-titles), but with only 168 of the 173 full-page engraved plates by William Blake, Bartolozzi, Thomas Holloway and others. With the three engraved vignettes engraved by Blake {Volume I, pages 127, 206 and 225) as well as a full-page plate engraved by Blake after Rubens (V.I opposite page 159).

A Very Good set overall with light to moderate foxing near the plates, most text leaves are generally in excellent shape.

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 twovolume 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 versions had appeared. Among the portraits included are those of Descartes, Locke, Milton, Newton, Vesalius, Voltaire, and George Washington. Garrison and Morton. Norman Library. Osler 3178.
(Item #1680)

Price: $950