This is a very rare 1797 first edition English translation (published in London) of Johann Kaspar Lavater's "Essays on Physiognomy Calculated to Extend the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind" volume one (of four volumes.) Lavater (1741 – 1801) was a Swiss poet, writer, philosopher, theologian, and physiognomist, credited with being the first to introduce the idea that “physiognomy related to the specific character traits of individuals, rather than general types.” I found it quite interesting to learn that Lavater's physiognomy work (which became enormously popular in France and England especially) is attributed with catalyzing the golden age for cut paper silhouettes; I had never made that connection before. Of course we know how completely problematic and exploited to nefarious ends physiognomy would become, but the engravings in this rare volume are abundant and quite marvelous, and certainly it's a fascinating document of its times.
243 pages. Approx 60 full page engraving with blank backs. 8 3/8" x 5 3/8" x 1 1/3". Cover cover is partly detached and there is wear/loss to the leather on the exterior spine, and some ink staining to mostly far upper corners of a portion of pages (as exemplified in documented pages.) Engravings are bold and clear and paper is in overall good condition. I've documented a representative sample of engravings--a selection of engravings first followed by a few pages of text. There is one loose page, and few pages that show foxing (as documented); most do not.