Thanks to several respondents, my query has been met plus a bonus of another
Dr Dennis Chanter:
It was W.J. Youden and it is reproduced in 'Quotes, Damned Quotes and
...', compiled by John Bibby (1983).
Mike Parker sent me:
Two versions are shown below, but more careful typesetting might be required
to render them correctly.
There is a version by W. J. Youden
law of error
stands out in the
experience of mankind
as one of the broadest
generalisations of natural
philosophy. It serves as the
guiding instrument in researches
in the physical and social sciences and
in medicine agriculture and engineering.
It is an indispensable tool for the analysis and the
interpretation of the basic data obtained by observation and
And this one . . .
looks like this! If
a set of data is drawn
in a stemplot or histogram,
it is surprising how often this
particular shape emerges. The shape
is one whose distribution has a peak in the
middle and is symmetrical with two tails at either side.
Alan Graham (1990)
Investigating statistics, Hodder & Stoughton
My thanks also to Prof Graham Upton and Dr Quentin Burrell, both of whom
also solved my problem.
Here are some references:
Bibby, J. (1987) Quotes, Damned Quotes ...QED Books.
Gaither, G.C. and Cavazos-Gaither, A.E. (1996) Statistically Speaking - a
dictionary of quotations. Institute of Physics Publishing.
Graham, A. (1990) Investigating Statistics. Hodder Arnold H&S.
Upton, G. and Cook, I. (2008, 2nd ed) A Dictionary of Statistics. Oxford
Youden, W.J. (1962) Experimentation and Measurement. National Science
Teachers Association, Washington, D.C.