|From a royal haircut sometime between 1738 and 1820.|
My photo edited with Color Effect
Do you think some enterprising court coiffeur made a few farthings on the side running a hush-hush under-the-counter business dealing in tiny packages of His Highness's crowning glory?
Psst... wanna score some sovereignty?
However and whyever it was acquired, (and letter J may reveal all, so stay tuned) the existence of this peculiar souvenir has allowed modern scientists to investigate just exactly what ailed the mad monarch.
According to current opinion, records of his erratic behaviour indicate the king was bipolar. He is also likely to have suffered from porphyria, a genetic condition that can lead to the sorts of episodes George experienced. A genetic condition that Mary,Queen of Scots, apparently introduced to the bloodline.
|A very hairy King George III|
Drawn by M Wyatt & engraved by W Lowry
November 6th 1817
Arsenic levels amplify the effects of porphyria.
Guess which heavy metal was in the substance that physicians of the day administered to treat his manic episodes?
Arsenic was also an ingredient in the powder liberally sprinkled on the wigs that were the shit in the G-man's day. Powder could be pleasantly scented with lavender or orange oil to hide that certain 18th century-lack-of-bathing funk.
So, a big-wig like our boy George would employ a minion (such as the aforementioned coif peddling candyman) to regularly shave his skull and look after his hirsute big-wiggish needs.
You see, you could send your head-piece off to have it boiled until it was vermin-free. Not such a good idea if your hair is attached.
Of course it's also altogether possible that the hair is not George's at all, and this is all part of an H for hoax.
During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.
My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.