Sampson Lloyd has his Head Examined

Phrenology report on Sampson Lloyd, 1842

Phrenology report on Sampson Lloyd, 1842

‘Phrenological Development’ is the title of this 1842 report. It was created following an examination of Sampson Samuel Lloyd who was partner, managing director, and later chairman of Lloyds Bank. Phrenology was a relatively new science, where the shape of the skull could supposedly be used to identify attributes of character and personality. 

The examination was carried out by a Mr Rumball. In his report he finds it hard to highlight any character flaws at all. He says ’You told me not to flatter. I must go over the head many times before I find anything to blame. Thank God for such an organisation and make the best use of it’

Phrenology had originated in Vienna in the 1790s, but only became popular in Britain during the 19th century. At this time, science was gaining popular appeal, and public lectures on many subjects, including phrenology, were widespread. The naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Darwin, attended one such a lecture. His skull was also examined by Rumball, and Wallace found the results to be ‘curiously exact’. 

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