Footnote 351

A reliable source, the municipal accounts of the city of La Rochelle, says that her hair was "round and black" (for the original language, see Quicherat's "Une relation inédite sur Jeanne d'Arc", "Revue Historique" Tome 4 p. 336).
The account by Philip of Bergamo also says that she had "black hair" (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV, p. 523).
These written descriptions correspond with the presence of a black hair, apparently Jehanne's, in the wax seal of the letter she dictated and sent to Riom on November 9, 1429 (see Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol V, p. 147).

As for the shape and length: the abovementioned account from the city of La Rochelle indicates that it was cut in the rounded style of the era, but gives no indication of its exact length.
The source known as "Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris" also describes it as "rounded". (For the original language, see: Quicherat's "Procès...", Vol IV p. 469).
Since 15th century paintings depict various rounded styles with varying lengths [more on this below], it's hard to tell from the above what the length would have been, and unfortunately the only more detailed indications of its length come from two thoroughly puzzling descriptions in the unreliable Condemnation transcript: despite the fact that her hair would have grown out a total of nearly five inches during her year of imprisonment (assuming the normal growth rate of some 0.4 inches per month), and two of these inches would have been added during the trial itself, the transcript occasionally claims that it was cut "above the ears". It's hard to see how this could be valid unless we assume that her captors themselves were cutting and shaving it, and then blaming her for having it cut that short - she didn't have any implements for cutting it herself, as they never allowed her so much as a knife. She certainly could not have shaved it in the manner they describe.

Early 15th century illustrations showing "rounded" styles depict a number of variations.
A statue of Jehanne's enemy, Earl Richard of Warwick (an English commander who oversaw her trial) shows his hair cut in the typical bowl-shaped form, but with the hair overlapping the top third or more of his ears. The same form is shown in numerous other illustrations, some of which show most of the ear covered. Others depict a similar style cut at various levels above the ears; another variation takes the form of a sort of rounded tuft; still others have the hair rolled at the bottom all the way around the perimeter.
It would seem that the most reasonable form for Jehanne's hair, at least during her campaigns, is something similar to Warwick's: cut short, but overlapping the ears rather than being shaved above the ears. This would be easier to maintain - she could have kept it trimmed herself - and would be consistent with the accounts. Some modern authors, including Adrien Harmand, have made it seem as if the "rounded" style was always cut above the ears, although Harmand's own book includes 15th century illustrations which prove this wrong. Similarly, some authors have used a portrait of another English commander, the Duke of Bedford, as a model; but this portrait shows a variation of the "cap" hairstyle, in which the entire neck is shaved and the temples shaved almost straight across - not the usual "rounded" style, which normally was longer and cut in a slanted line running either just above or a bit below the top of the ears.
The specific appearance would depend in part on whether her hair was naturally thick and curly, or thin and straight: thick, curly hair would produce a fuller, more feminine-looking version of the hairstyle.


Copyright © 2003, Allen Williamson. All rights reserved.

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