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Essays on Physiognomy.
  • 100644_1
  • 100644

LAVATER, John Caspar.

Essays on Physiognomy.

Designed to Promote the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind ... translated into English by Thomas Holcroft. To which are added, One Hundred Physiognomical Rules, a Posthumous Work by Mr. Lavater; and Memoirs of the Life of the Author ... Third Edition, with upwards of Four Hundred Profiles and other Engravings.

Published: London: Thomas Tegg, 1840

Stock code: 100644

Price: £200

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Reprint of the defence by Lavater – “the last of the descriptive physiognomists” (Garrison & Morton) – of the pseudo-science of physiognomy, more correctly pathognomy, “the age old quest for the art how to know men” (Hunter & MacAlpine). Lavater’s work was first published in German in 1772 and enjoyed widespread success thereafter. This copy with the contemporary ownership inscription of James Van Sommer, and his extensive, and often caustic but not entirely dismissive, notes to the text, beginning with his addition of the word “Rambling” at the beginning of the title itself. Van Sommer was secretary to the managers of the Stock Exchange, and the author of Tables, exhibiting the Various Fluctuations in Three per cent Consols. An interesting copy.

Octavo. Later red cloth, title gilt to the spine. Engraved portrait frontispiece and 80 plates. Spine sunned, cloth a little mottled, light browning throughout, occasional foxing, and some off-setting from the plates, but overall a very good copy.

Bibliography: Garrison & Morton 154 and see Hunter & MacAlpine p.712 for early editions.

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