An open and capacious forehead
It would appear once more that Victor has read and inculcated the wisdom
of one of his most celebrated countrymen in the eighteenth century, Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), whose
Physiognomische Fragmente (1775-1778) -- translated into English
in 1789-1798 as Essays on
Physiognomy -- purported to show how character could be inferred from
facial features and proportions. Here "open" carries moral connotations,
indicative of the "frankness of disposition" with which this sentence
ends. See 1.3.1 and note for an earlier instance where
physiognomy appears to enter into his discourse.
Mary Shelley was aware that her own character had been predicted from her
infant physiognomy by her father's close friend, the scientist William Nicholson. As his account emphasizes, she, too,
possessed a "capacious forehead."