Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Another Gingerish Jesus

I came across this painting yesterday by the artist Bernhard Plockhorst. It's titled The Good Shepherd and shows Jesus with gingery-brown hair. He's not an absolute definite redhead, but I think he's close enough.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Freckles in Shakespeare's The Tempest

I came across another red hair Shakespeare reference recently - well, not quite red hair actually, but more freckles - the sister blemish of red hair. Again red hair and freckles are represented in a bad light. In this case it's the character Caliban who has the misfortune. Caliban is a savage and deformed slave who tries to rape Miranda, the daughter of Prospero. Another great red-haired role model :/
"A freckled whelp, hag-born -  not honoured with a human shape"
His mother, the witch Sycorax, is described as a "blue-eyed hag", reinforcing this association.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Copernicus - Copper Locks?

We have another important astronomical figure who may have been red-haired - Nicolaus Copernicus. The image below shows him with, dare I say it, coppery locks.

If he was indeed a redhead we can add him to the ranks of fellow-astronomers Galileo and Tycho Brahe who were also red-haired. Interestingly, Brahe also had an artificial "copper" nose (although some sources say gold or silver), after losing part of his nose in a duel.

I should thank Barry for bringing this one to my attention. He cites it as more evidence that redheads are more predisposed to the Ninth Intelligence;

..From Scotland and Ireland

A few more redheads, this time from Scotland and the Emerald Isle. Once again courtesy of Emanuela. Firstly we have Beatrice Elvery. She was an Irish painter and stained-glass artist. Her red hair can be seen in the portrait below, painted by the artist William Orpen;

Another painter with red hair was the Scottish artist David Wilkie. His self portrait below shows him with red hair, and looking very much like a member of the Bullingdon Club.

Our final redhead is the Irish rebel and king of Tyrconnell Hugh Roe O'Donnell. He is sometimes known as Aodh Ruadh II or Red Hugh II, supposedly because of his red hair.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stan Gooch and the Red-Haired Neanderthals

I've recently re-read The Neanderthal Legacy by Stan Gooch.

I mentioned this book on my website a while ago, but on re-reading it I realised I'd missed a few interesting bits out. I'll briefly give a synopsis of the book then mention these few points of interest.

Basically, Gooch believed that modern man was a hybrid of Cro-Magnon man and Neanderthal man, and that our conflicted, yet impressive, civilisation was a consequence of this fact. Interestingly for us he believed that Neanderthals were red-haired and that this was where our modern red hair originated. He also believed the Neanderthals were nocturnal, matriarchal, left-handed moon-worshippers - and that the Cro-Magnons were patriarchal, right-handed, day-dwelling sun-lovers. He believed this was where our social division of "left wing" and "right wing" originated.

Anyway, the few bits I'd missed now. Firstly, on page 35 of the book he mentions that the famed Russian "wild woman" Zana was covered in red hair. This story will be quite familiar to anyone au fait with Bigfoot mythology. Zana was said to be a "wild" woman that was captured in Russia in the 1870s. Bizarrely she was said to have had four children with local men during her period of captivity. Gooch suggests that she was a remnant Neanderthal, as he believed that Neanderthals were covered in red body hair - the biblical Esau being cited as one of many examples. It's interesting to note in this regard that in the book Mary Magdalene: Princess of Orange, the author Ralph Ellis mentions Christian traditions that claim Mary Magdalene was covered with body hair too.

On page 39 Gooch then mentions a link between red hair and the Philosopher's Stone;
Chinese alchemists consider the Philosopher's Stone to be red cinnabar and say that if this is mixed with honey and eaten, it restores youth, confers immortality, and turns your hair red.
Later in the book he then also mentions that both zombies and vampires are cultural memories of Neanderthals. This is interesting because over the last few years we've started to link red hair with vampires on this blog as well. Maybe this overlap suggests there's some grain of truth to all this speculation.

On a final note Stan Gooch died in 2010. It's a shame his work isn't a little more well known as it's both interesting and challenging. Hopefully this article will help readdress the balance in some tiny little way.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Martyr of the Solway - John Everett Millais

A little bit of art now - The Martyr of the Solway by Millais.

The painting depicts Margaret Wilson, a young Scottish Covenanter who was drowned for refusing to swear an oath to James VII.

Red Hair in the Works of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

I came across a few interesting references to red hair in the works of Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the famed Theosophical Society.

Firstly this from Isis Unveiled;
In India, as well as in Russia and some other countries, there is an instinctive repugnance to stepping across a man's shadow, especially if he have red hair; and in the former country, natives are extremely reluctant to shake hands with persons of another race. These are not idle fancies. Every person emits a magnetic exhalation or aura, and a man may be in perfect physical health, but at the same time his exhalation may have a morbific character for others, sensitive to such subtile influences.
The magnetism of a red-haired man, we have found, in almost every nation, is instinctively dreaded. We might quote proverbs from the Russian, Persian, Georgian, Hindustani, French, Turkish, and even German, to show that treachery and other vices are popularly supposed to accompany the rufous complexion.

Secondly this, from a piece titled The Legend of the Blue Lotus; In it she recalls the eastern legend of the Blue Lotus - a story of a king who must sacrifice his eldest son. The son refuses to be the sacrificial victim and tries to find a substitute to take his place. A sin for which he is punished by God.
"A prince who does not know how to die for his subjects is not worthy to reign over the children of the Sun. He will be reborn in a race of red haired peoples, a barbarous and selfish race, and the nations which descend from him will have a heritage ever on the decline."
 "He reincarnated in the family of a foreigner without caste (Mleccha-Yavana) and became the ancestor of the barbarous and red-haired races which dwell in the West."

The general theme here seems to be red equals bad.

Vittorio Alfieri; Founder of Italian Tragedy

Another quite famous Italian redhead now; Vittorio Alfieri. Alfieri was a poet and dramatist and is considered the "founder of Italian tragedy".

He penned a "self-portrait" poem in which he described his hair colour;

Sublime mirror of truthful words, show me
In soul and body what I am: scant hair
Thinning above the brow, but still rich red,
A figure tall and slim, on two straight shanks

The poem in full can be found here; along with another "self-portrait" poem by fellow Italian redhead Ugo Foscolo. http://members.xoom.virgilio.it/wordreign/carl25.htm

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chilean Redheads: Bernardo O'Higgins and Patricio Lynch

El Revolution continues. Two more great red-haired figures from history which Emanuela has brought to my attention. The Chilean independence leader Bernardo O'Higgins and the Chilean Rear Admiral Patricio Lynch.

O'Higgins was a huge figure in the Chilean quest for independence in the 19th Century. Perhaps the figure. His name may sound quite strange to English ears - the combination of a Spanish first name and such an Irish surname seems quite odd and amusing. However, he was a massively important figure in the history of Chile and is yet another red-haired revolutionary to add to our ever-growing list. It seems every country had one. He was also, like the red-haired Garibaldi, a Freemason. His hair looks remarkably red in his portraits.

Patricio Lynch was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and a Rear Admiral in the Chilean Navy, taking part in the War of the Pacific in the latter half of the 19th Century. Due to his red hair he was known as the "Red Prince" by the Chinese slave-labourers he liberated from the Peruvian Haciendas.

The Family of Thomas Jefferson

We've mentioned before that Thomas Jefferson was a redhead. Anyway, we now have a few redheads from his family to add. He wife Martha Wayles Skelton had auburn hair and hazel eyes. His daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph had red hair, and apparently resembled her father quite closely. Also Jefferson's grandson John Wayles Jefferson was red-haired - his grandmother was Sarah "Sally" Hemings, Jefferson's slave, with whom he was said to have had a long term relationship which produced several children.

John Bunyan, John Milton and Thomas Carlyle.

Some more famous British redheads now (once again with a big thank you to Emanuela for bringing them to my attention).

First up is the 17th Century writer and preacher John Bunyan, famous for writing the religious allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. Another English Civil War era redhead. According to the webpage below he had "sparkling eyes", "a ruddy face" and "reddish" hair.


Next up a pretty big one to add to our collection if we can claim him: John Milton. Milton is famous for penning the epic poem Paradise Lost. He was also a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England during Cromwell's period (..the red-haired Reformation continues). The following page states that he had auburn hair with a "reddish cast" to it.


Emanuela also found the following pictures of him which both show hair of a reddish chestnut colouring.

..and finally another big hitter from from the world of literature, this time from the 19th Century; Thomas Carlyle. According to the following webpage the writer told Henry Fielding Dickens (son of Charles) that he was a "gawky youth with a shock of red hair, and explained how he used to be bullied by other boys".

I've referenced Thomas Carlyle before when discussing the above mentioned Oliver Cromwell, but I wasn't aware that like Cromwell he was also red-haired. Carlyle stated of Cromwell; "As lightning is to light, so is a Cromwell to a Shakespeare". Carlyle had a theory that history was dominated by heroic men who stood above all others, shaping destiny by rising up and leading through the chaos. He stated "History is nothing but the biography of the Great Man". He believed Cromwell was one of these figures.

My favourite Thomas Carlyle quote is the following; "Godlike men love lightening ...Godless men love it not; shriek murder when they see it; shutting their eyes, and hastily procuring smoked-spectacles."

Another Redhead From The Ancient World: Persephone

Two images from the ancient world appear to show Persephone, daughter of Zeus, with red hair. This first one comes from The Tomb of Amphipolis in northern Greece, and is said to date to the 4th Century BC.

And this next one comes from a royal tomb in Vergina, also in northern Greece. The hair colour isn't quite as striking in this one, but taken together they both suggest that she was commonly viewed (much like the other people depicted in the images) as fair with reddish hair. Maybe this was what the people of this region generally looked like at this time. Anciently this was Macedonia - we've mentioned before the possibility that the Ptolemy line (Cleopatra's line), that hailed from Macedonia, may have been redheads. We've also noted how common red hair was said to be in Thrace to the north of ancient Greece. Maybe these images provide more evidence for this general view.

Both these images are said to depict the mythical abduction of Persephone by Hades, King of the underworld ..or do they depict the abduction of Greek money (and dignity) by the EU and IMF (?)