Geometrical optical illusions were given this title by Oppel in 1855. Variants on such small distortions of visual space were illustrated thereafter, many of which bear the names of those who first described them. Some original forms of the geometrical optical illusions are shown together with ‘perceptual portraits’ of those who described them. These include: Roget, Chevreul, Fick, Zöllner, Poggendorff, Hering, Kundt, Delboeuf, Mach, Helmholtz, Hermann, von Bezold, Müller-Lyer, Lipps, Thiéry, Wundt, Münsterberg, Ebbinghaus, Titchener, Ponzo, Luckiesh, Sander, Ehrenstein, Gregory, Heard, White, Shepard, and Lingelbach. The illusions are grouped under the headings of orientation, size, the combination of size and orientation, and contrast. Early theories of illusions, before geometrical optical illusions were so named, are mentioned briefly.