Johann Gaspar Spurzheim1776–1832

Transformation of phrenology

Spurzheim’s name is forever linked with that of Gall. He was Gall’s student, then collaborator and they journeyed around Europe together lecturing on cranioscopy, or phrenology as it was later called. They went their separate ways after 1813, and Spurzheim continued spreading the word of phrenology throughout Europe and beyond. In 1832 he travelled to America and died in Boston after contracting typhoid. Phrenology assigned faculties of functions to protuberances on the skull. Gall proposed that there were 27 such faculties, but these were extended to 35 by Spurzheim. The stylised phrenological markings on drawings of the head became the stock in trade. The one on the left is from Spurzheim’s book, the title page of which is combined with his portrait on the right. The image in the centre is a combination of Spurzheim’s portrait and the phrenological head.