Wooden and tortoiseshell snuff box, France, 1801-1830

Made:
1801-1830 in France
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
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Wooden snuff box, top illustrated with 3 views of a phrenological skull of the type invented by Dr. Gall, possibly French

The lid of this snuff box shows three views of a phrenological skull. Supporters of phrenology believed that the shape and size of various areas of the brain (and therefore the overlying skull) determined personality. Each number on the skull relates to a character trait. For example, number 24 denotes love; number 19, vanity. There is a key to all the traits on the base of the box.

This system was invented by Franz Joseph Gall (1758 –1828), a German physician who founded phrenology. There were a number of different systems of phrenology as disagreements arose over how many brain ‘organs’ there were.

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Details

Category:
Smoking
Object Number:
A642707
Materials:
tortoiseshell, wood
type:
snuff box
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • snuff container

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