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'Bless me what a Bump', print, London, England, 1824-1851

A female phrenologist is examining the lumps and bumps of her male client’s head to determine his personality. A phrenological head, a reference guide to match the lumps and bumps to specific characteristics such as memory or friendliness, sits on the table. In the early 1800s, phrenology became popular with large numbers of people who were interested in self-improvement. However, many in the medical world dismissed it as quackery. The anonymous artist agreed with the medical world, producing this satirical print.

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Glossary: quack

Pertaining to or characterised by, boasting and pretension; used by quacks; pretending to cure diseases; as, a quack medicine; a quack doctor.

Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: phrenology

The study of the bumps on the outside of the skull in order to determine a person's character. It was based on the mistaken theory that the skull becomes modified according to the size of different parts of the brain.

Glossary: phrenological head

A representation of a human head, on which the phrenological faculties are illustrated. Phrenologists believed that one could tell personality traits by examining the bumps of the skull. The practice is now regarded as a pseudo-science.