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Pierre Simon LaPlace (1749–1827)

Object Name: Death mask or life mask
Date: mid-19th century
Related People:
Medium: Painted plaster
Dimensions: Overall: 13 x 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 in. ( 33 x 16.5 x 22.2 cm )
Credit Line: Purchase
Object Number: 1946.355
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Marks: Paper label on back: "LaPlace head 11-82, crayon La Place"; paper label on front: "PIERRE SIMCA LAPLACE French Astronomer"

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.