Go back to article: Coming home - Bally’s miniature phrenological specimens


The arrival of William Bally’s set of miniature phrenological specimens in Manchester for the Wellcome Collection exhibition Brains: The Mind as Matter (26 July 2013 – 4 January 2014) was an ideal time to reassess the mysteries of its production – was it made in Manchester or Dublin? In what context was it produced? Phrenology – the study of the shape and contours of the skull to determine mental faculties – has received attention from historians. But the origin and context of this object, although long part of the canon of 19th-century phrenology, has never been fully explored. Close inspection of the object has enabled analysis of its place in the career of its maker, and its significance today as evidence of the role of material culture in the practice of 19th-century phrenology.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/140102/006