Sunday, November 22, 2015

Francis Drake: Part II

I finished reading the Francis Drake book I mentioned a few posts ago. Towards the end of it I found another interesting titbit.

The following is a verse about Drake penned by Robert Hayman, a Devon man who became Governor of Britaniola (Newfoundland). The verse was inspired by a chance encounter Hayman had with Drake when he was a child.

He asked me whose I was. I answered him.
He asked if his good friend were within.
A fair red orange in his hand he had.
He gave it me, whereof I was right glad.
Takes and kissed me and prays, God bless my boy,
Which I recall in comfort to this day.

The verse may seem incidental to most, however the mention of a "fair red orange" struck me as being quite in keeping with something I've mentioned on this blog before. Namely the possible relationship between oranges (and pumpkins), Protestantism and red hair.

Drake was said to be a devout Protestant and he was instrumental in Protestant England's successful defiance of Catholic Spain. As we mentioned in the last post about him he was also said to have red hair. The poem of course could quite easily be a simple retelling of a chance encounter the writer had with the great man. However, it could also be a symbolic apocryphal story hiding a deeper meaning - the orange representing a symbolic handing down of the Protestant chalice to future generations.

Red-Haired Thor :)

Thanks to Emanuela I've recently discovered that the Norse god Thor was a redhead. I've heard this claim made before but have never seen any real vindication until now.

According to Wikipedia Thor is generally described as "fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded." And in The Prologue to the Prose Edda his hair was described as "more beautiful than gold."

Wikipedia also mentions a Frisian curse referring to Thor;
diis ruadhiiret donner regiir! - "let red-haired thunder see to that!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Red Hair and Scarlet Caps

Another miscellany of redheads in art now courtesy of Emanuela :D

First up this beautiful image by the Italian artist Lorenzo di Credi. It's titled A Boy in a Scarlet Cap.

Next a portrait of Gian Giacomo Caprotti, the pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. Also known by the nickname Salaì, meaning devil.

And finally a painting by the Flemish artist Bernard van Orley (for which we can't find the name xD). The painting appears to show a red-haired Mary and child Jesus, along with several other reddish-haired children. To add to the apparent redness the baby Jesus appears to be reaching for an orange.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Elizabethan Redhead; Sir Francis Drake

I've recently discovered another red-haired discoverer; the explorer and privateer Sir Francis Drake. In a book titled Sir Francis Drake by George Malcolm Thomson it states that he was;
a sturdy boy, rather under the average height, with bold bright eyes and reddish hair
There are also a few portraits that show him with red hair, most notably this one, that is thought to show Drake in his mid-thirties (with a very ginger complexion indeed).

Interestingly, according to various on-line sources it's said that Drake recorded seeing "red-haired giants" in the Americas that were over nine feet tall.

His nickname was El Draque/Draco - "The Dragon". Another red hair/serpentine link.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fortean Times and Threes

I noticed a few mentions of red hair in this months Fortean Times (Oct 2015 issue).

As ever these things come in threes.

Firstly on page 11 in their round up of peculiar news stories they have a sideline piece titled "Ginger Nut". I'll quote it in full;
Mark Colborne, 37, felt "belittled" because of his ginger hair and stockpiled the ingredients to make cyanide so that he could spray the deadly poison at non-Aryans to publicise his racist beliefs and put "a major dent in England". He also planned to shoot Prince Charles and William so that red-haired Harry could be king. The fascist agoraphobic, who lived with his mother in Southampton, was shopped by his half-brother. D Telegraph, D.Mail, 13 May; Eve. Standard, 14 May 2015.
I hope we're not seeing gingers being linked with terrorism! If any gingers are reading this violence is not the answer. The key is just to arrogantly assume you're better than everyone else - that's what I do ;)

The second mention of red hair comes on page 52 in an article about cryptozoology. It mentions a campfire story that inspired a book titled Goatman: Flesh or Folklore by J Nathan Couch. It concerns the tale of a recently married couple whose wagon had broken down on a treacherous stretch of road. Whilst the young groom went for help the bride came face to face with a hideous creature;
"a terrible form stood in the moonlight. It was a creature covered in coarse red hair standing on two legs like a man, but with the horned head and long muzzle of a goat."
In terror she hid herself in the wagon and eventually drifted off to sleep. The tale has a gruesome ending however, as the next day the woman wakes to find her beloved killed by the strange beast;
"On the ground she found large cloven-hooved tracks ...[S]he looked up to find the mutilated remains of the man she'd just married dangling from a gnarled limb."

The final mention of red hair is a little inadvertent and comes in a book review. On page 62, whilst reviewing a book titled The Whispering Swarm the writer produces the following line;
..Michael [the book's narrator] is introduced to Captain Turpin, Colonel Cody and Prince Rupert. And he meets the feisty Moll Midnight, with violet eyes and red-gold curls.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Giordano Bruno - Red-Haired Heretic ??

Another great find from Emanuela today :D

In previous posts we've mentioned how Galileo, Tycho Brahe and possibly Copernicus were all redheads. Now Emanuela has found a page suggesting that the famed philosopher Giordano Bruno may also have been a redhead. It describes him as "short, thin, [with] red hair and combative".

Bruno lived from 1548 to 1600 and was burnt at the stake for heresy by the Inquisition (another redhead burnt for heresy :p). Wikipedia says this about him;
He is celebrated for his cosmological theories, which went even further than the then novel Copernican model. He proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets and raised the possibility that these planets could even foster life of their own (a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism). He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its "center".
Quite timely given that the Internet is currently abuzz with Flat Earth theory - a theory that calls for the end of this now universally accepted world model. I guess these things come in cycles. Yesterday's heresy now today's orthodoxy.

It's said Giordano Bruno also believed in the transmigration of souls - what we would call reincarnation. Maybe in his latest incarnation Bruno is a Flat Earther :)

Whenever the powers that be seek to limit the imagination of man, men like Bruno will stand as a light against the enclosing darkness. In this case maybe bright with red hair.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Some Beautiful Paintings Today :)

The following were all brought to my attention by Emanuela.

The first four are by the American painter and printmaker Mary Cassatt.

(The Family)

(Maternal Kiss)

(Nurse Reading to a Little Girl)

(Young Woman with Auburn Hair in a Pink Blouse)

This next one is by the English artist Luke Fildes. I'm not sure what its title is, but it's very beautiful nonetheless.

And this final, equally beautiful painting, is by the artist William Llewellyn, and is titled Girl with Pigtails.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Could Da Vinci Have Been A Redhead?

It's often mentioned on-line that Leonardo da Vinci had red hair. He would be a great addition to the roll call, however evidence is very difficult to come by, and so far we've only found suggestions that he had hair of a brownish colour at best.

Interestingly though, the following web page suggests otherwise. It states that Leonardo had "long brown hair with a tinge of red". The page is interesting, but quite unorthodox as it suggests that Leonardo appeared in many more paintings than is generally believed.

The following YouTube video also expounds upon this theme;

Whilst watching the video I noticed the following picture of a red-haired Jesus, apparently posed for by Leonardo.

I'm not too sure the image is actually Leonardo, but it's certainly another ginger Jesus to add to the collection. It would be interesting to know who painted it. The seemingly see-through orb reminded me of the famous Salvator Mundi often attributed to the hand of Leonardo da Vinci. Another Christus with vaguely red hair.

Red Hair in the Works of Evelyn De Morgan

This first painting was brought to my attention by Emanuela. It's by the female painter Evelyn De Morgan. She lived from 1855 to 1919 and her works were strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement. This painting is called The Love Potion. It depicts a yellow-clad witch complete with black cat familiar at her feet.

Whilst reading up on her I also found another few works by her that feature redheads. This first is called Aurora Triumphans and in it the central figure appears to have bright red hair. Aurora, the naked figure on the right is symbolic of day (or dawn), the dark shrouded figure on the left is symbolic of night.

This final painting is called The Worship of Mammon. It's quite a vivid illustration of the love of money, and shows a red-haired woman in purplish-pink drapery.

The Creation of Eve - Michelangelo

Another great red hair find courtesy of Emanuela today :)

This image is from the Creation of Eve by Michelangelo. It shows Adam with red hair, Eve with hair a little more blond in colour, and God with whitish-blond (possibly strawberry-blond ;p) hair.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Schneewittchen - Snow White

Emanuela also brought this German stamp to my attention which shows the wicked step-mother from Snow White with red hair.

I also came across a Japanese manga comic called Snow White with the Red Hair. According to the Wikipedia page an anime adaptation has recently been made. Apparently the plot involves her cutting off her red hair after a prince tries to force her to become his concubine because of it.

Some More (Very!) Red-Haired Pictures of Jesus

They both come courtesy of Emanuela :)

The first is from the Italian painter Fra Angelico and is called the Entombment of Christ.

And this second comes from the duomo of Orvieto and is by the same artist. It's possibly the most red-haired Jesus ever painted :)

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.

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 (?)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Máire Rúa - Red Mary

I came across another feisty female redhead from history today too. Máire Rúa or "Red Mary", an Irish woman with flaming red hair who lived in Leamaneh Castle in County Clare in the 17th century. She was said to be a fearsome woman who accompanied her husband on raids against English settlers. One website states that her ghost haunts the area to this day.

Elinor Glyn and Clara Bow

I came across a book from 1905 today titled Red Hair by the novelist and scriptwriter Elinor Glyn. The book was also made into a silent film starring the actress Clara Bow. Anyway, it turns out that both women were actually red-haired in real life too.

Elinor Glyn was green-eyed and red-haired, and Clara Bow was said to have been teased at school because of her "carrot-top" hair. According to Wikipedia;
Bow's mass of tangled red hair was one of her most famous features. When fans of the new star found out she put henna in her hair, sales of the dye tripled.
 (Elinor Glyn)

(Clara Bow)

The silent film is now considered to be lost, however some has survived and can be viewed here;