Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fanny Price's hair

Billie Piper's hair, when she played Fanny Price in Mansfield Park, caused a lot of comment, because she had loose, flowing locks instead of a bun. How much more of a furore would have been caused if she had worn her hair as Fanny seems to have worn it, I wonder?

In Chapter 24 of Mansfield Park, William stretches out his hand to Fanny's head and says:

“Do you know, I begin to like that queer fashion already, though when I first heard of such things being done in England, I could not believe it; and when Mrs. Brown, and the other women at the Commissioner’s at Gibraltar, appeared in the same trim, I thought they were mad; but Fanny can reconcile me to anything.”

Given that Mansfield Park appears to be set in 1808, and given that Jane Austen wrote, in a letter to Cassandra on 24 January 1809, “I should have liked to have seen Anna’s looks & performance–but that sad cropt head must have injured the former,” there is a very strong probability that Fanny's hair actually looked like the picture at the left.

Amanda Grange

1 comment:

Melinda said...

I suspect most viewers would have thought a short hairstyle was not authentic. However, shorter hair became popular from the time of the French Revolution, I believe one style was even called "a la guillotine"......