Saturday, January 20, 2018

Red Hair YouTube Channel

I've recently set up a small YouTube channel for red hair. The two videos posted so far are pretty poor quality. It would be nice to do some more professional ones at some point in the future. I may also start doing some playlists of red hair videos on the channel if I come across any interesting ones on YouTube.

This first one is a re-upload of a very old video I made quite a while back. It's a little annoying, especially the text-to-speech voice, but it does at least share some interesting information in a bite-sized way.

In this next one I've tried to collate all the information regarding the idea that Jesus Christ was red-haired. My hope is that a few people will come across the video online and maybe add some information we don't already have.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

According to the Wikipedia page for Catherine she is often depicted with "long unbound blonde or reddish hair". Below are a few examples where she has the reddish variety.

This one is tilted the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherin' and is by the German artist Hans Memling. Catherine is situated in the bottom left of the painting, sitting on her symbol the wheel - as in the famous "Catherine wheel". The Catherine wheel, also known as the Breaking wheel, was a type of torture device that according to legend was used to execute Catherine. In this painting Catherine seems to have gingery-blonde hair, as do the rest of the women in the painting.

This one depicts both Catherine and Mary Magdalene. It's by another German born painter, this time the artist Konrad Witz. Mary is on the left in green, holding her jar of ointment. Catherine is on the right, her wheel in the background, and reading a book. The book is symbolic of her education. Catherine was said to be a very erudite Christian scholar. She's the patron saint of scholars and students.

In fact, it's said that the legend of Catherine is possibly based on the story of the Hellenistic pagan scholar Hypatia of Alexandria. She was likewise martyred for her educated beliefs. Of course, the story of Hypatia could alternately be based on that of Catherine. Or both could be variants on some other tradition. It actually reminds me of the following painting of Mary Magdalene that, if I recall correctly, we shared on this blog a while ago.

This beautiful painting is by the artist Piero di Cosimo. It shows a red-haired Mary complete with her jar of ointment, as is common. However, in this one she's shown in a contemplative mood reading a book. A far cry from the impassioned and sexualised Mary Magdalene we're normally familiar with. I wonder if all these various traditions overlap somewhat.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Carrots", Kyd and War Heroes

First new post of 2018 and a few new redheads to add to the team.

First one we have is Elizabeth Seymour, Duchess of Somerset (1667 - 1722). She was a close friend and confidant of Queen Anne of Great Britain. This closeness gave her a degree of influence at the time, an influence which was disliked and criticised by the satirist Jonathan Swift. In his stinging attack The Windsor Prophecy he labelled her "Carrots" because of her red hair.

Another famed redhead we have is Sergeant Alvin C. York. He was an American war hero during World War I and even had a poem dedicated to him called A Ballad Of Redhead's Day. The poem and an accompanying article from the time about his exploits can be found on the following page;

I also came across the following image of the character Fagin from Oliver Twist. We've mentioned how Dickens depicted Fagin as a red-haired Jew on these pages before. This image by Joseph Clayton Clarke (1857 - 1937), illustrates the stereotype perhaps even more vividly than the book does. Clarke, who worked under the pseudonym "Kyd", was famous for his illustrations of characters from Dickens novels.