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Big Heart

Object Name: Death mask or life mask
Date: mid-19th century
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Medium: Terracotta painted and white overpainted plaster
Dimensions: Overall: 11 x 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. ( 27.9 x 18.4 x 21.6 cm )
Description: Portrait head
Credit Line: Purchase
Object Number: 1946.361
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Marks: Paper label on base: "Big Heart head 17-83"

Gallery Label:

This cast was part of the Phrenological Museum of Fowler & Wells, which opened in New York City in 1842. Brothers Orson Squire Fowler (1809-1887) and Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811-1896) and their business associate Samuel Roberts Wells (1820-1875) were noted phrenologists who read heads to understand the subject's "temperament." Their Phrenological Cabinet displaying casts, skulls, and charts became a popular fixture in the city.


The Fowler Mask Collection; Furniture and Decorations, Kende Galleries at Gimbel Brothers, New York, September 20-21, 1946; purchased by New-York Historical Society, 1946.