William Bally

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William Bally (c. 1799 – c. 1856) was a Swiss sculptor active in Manchester, United Kingdom.


Born in Switzerland, in 1831 he was making small phrenological busts supervised by Johann Caspar Spurzheim;[1] he had been associated with Spurzheim and this project at least from 1829.[2] He came to England and employed George Holyoake in Birmingham during the 1830s.[3] At this time he was an associate of George Combe. The relationship with Holyoake ended badly, on Holyoake's account, Bally moving to Manchester and not making a promised cast of his head.[4]

In 1841 Bally made casts of inscriptions on Manx crosses, and later sold them to the antiquarian Henry Dryden.[5] He ran a phrenological gallery in the 1840s in Manchester, and contributed phrenological busts to the Great Exhibition of 1851.[6] He took part in a demonstration of hypnosis by James Braid in 1844.[7]


His purely sculptural works included a wax portrait of John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon,[8] and a bust of the calico printer Salis Schwabe.[9] At the Liverpool Academy of Arts he exhibited busts of Samuel Hope (1832) and Thomas Henry Illidge (1837).[10][11]


  1. ^ Johns Hopkins Magazine
  2. ^ The Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, Volume 7 (1832), p. 285; Google Books.
  3. ^ Roger Cooter, The Cultural Meaning of Popular Science: phrenology and the organization of consent in nineteenth-century Britain (1984), p. 274; Google Books.
  4. ^ Joseph McCabe, Life and Letters of George Jacob Holyoake (1908), pp. 28–30; archive.org.
  5. ^ Philip Moore Kermode, Manx Crosses or The Inscribed and Sculptured Monuments of the Isle of Man from about the End of the Fifth to the beginning of the Thirteenth Century. Volume 1. (2005 reprint of 1907 work), p. 8; Google Books.
  6. ^ Mapping Sculpture page.
  7. ^ Donald Robertson (editor), The Discovery of Hypnosis: The Complete Writings of James Braid, the Father of Hypnotherapy (2009), p. 273; Google Books.
  8. ^ V&A page.
  9. ^ Williams, Bill. "Schwabe, Salis". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/57656.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (1965), p. 36.
  11. ^ Edward Morris, Emma Roberts, The Liverpool Academy and Other Exhibitions of Contemporary Art in Liverpool, 1774-1867: a history and index of artists and works exhibited (1998), p. 57; Google Books.

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