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UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries


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Henry Siddons – Practical Illustrations of Rhetorical Gesture and Action (1807)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 November 2013

cover Siddons

This book is an adaptation of a work Ideer Zu Einer Mimik (1795) by Johann Jakob Engel, German philosopher and dramatist.  The illustrations were familiar to Charles Darwin from his research for the book The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872), via Moreau’s edited edition of Lavater which used many of these images (see Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture by Jonathan Smith, 2009).  To my eyes they seem a little stiff – some work better than others.


Henry Siddons was part of a great acting family.  His mother Sarah was a notable actress, remembered today by the Sarah Siddons Society that gives an award to a female actor, while his aunts, uncles and cousins were all successful in the theatre.

We like the emotion ‘indifference’ here – however we are not sure that we would display it quite like that!

Siddons indifference


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