'Calves' Heads and Brains or a Phrenological Lecture', 1826.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured etching by 'J Lump', engraved by 'L Bump' [sic] showing an enthusiastic speaker, possibly George Coombe, an Edinburgh phrenologist, addressing a varied and enthusiastic crowd on the subject of phrenology. The Viennese physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) proposed that the contours of the skull followed the brain's shape, with each region responsible for an aspect of personality or behaviour. Feeling the lumps was like reading the mind. He called his system organology, but it later became known as phrenology, derived from the Greek word 'phren' for mind. Phrenology never achieved the status of an accredited science, although the principle that many functions are localised in the brain is now widely accepted.