Physogs: a game with consequences

Endeavour. 2019 Sep;43(3):100689. doi: 10.1016/j.endeavour.2019.07.002. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


In 1939, an unusual card game, Physogs, debuted in the United Kingdom. Based on physiognomic principles, it instructed players as to how to read and construct facial features and character types. Thirty years later, a new form of composite facial recognition, Photofit, was incorporated into the practice of the British police. Both projects, Physogs and Photofit, were the brainchild of one man, Jacques Penry, representing his twentieth-century iteration of physiognomy. How did a card game become an origin point for a new approach to policing?