An audience of five people is looking at a tripod table on which the severed head of a bearded man is seemingly staring back and talking. The Talking Head was an act based on the use of mirrors for optical effect and is said by the author to have met with great success in Paris and other cities.
The caption reads in the original French:
Le décapité parlant.
Caption taken from the English edition titled Popular scientific recreations in natural philosophy, astronomy, geology, chemistry. London: Ward, Lock, and Co., n.d. [ca. 1882].