24 thoughts on “Top Five Crazy 1830s Hair Movies

  1. I loathe Great Expectations — LOATHE, I tell you! — but sure, I’ll take that hair, it’s fun. In still photos. As long as I don’t have to watch the movie.

  2. The 2008 BBC adaptation of “Little Dorrit” has some marvelous examples of 1830s hair, in particular that of the character of Mrs. Merdle and Fanny Dorrit after the family regains their fortunes.

    1. Yes, Megan, I think that was the first time I noticed that bizarre style. Thought it was just a designer’s whim to highlight the artifice of those characters (loved them both!). Now I know it actually was a thing! With a name! Once again, thanks, FF!

  3. The Fairy Tale Theater Episode of Cinderella was loosely placed in the 1830’s (through a VERY 80’s lens & cast), and the Stepmom/Stepsisters sport some silly updos, and historically, the most accurate silhouettes overall…..LOVE FTT!

    1. Wives and Daughters is a favourite of mine as well, Emily. Don’t you just love Everything about it. Molly and Cynthia ganging up on Hyacinth is so comic. Costumes are bang on IMHO and hair is perfect. Always thought short hair on Molly’s noble protectoress was due to illness. But whatever, spies proved stepsisters could get along.

  4. Ah, the glorious 1830s Mad Hair ‘Wives and Daughters’ (although I did want to slap Roger Hamley throughout until he saw reason). My favourite hair shot of the miniseries is one of the new Mrs Gibson (Francesca Annis) actually constructing a completely nutty topknot with hair pieces and ribbons at her boudoir table…..
    (P.S. My first comment for FrockFlicks, although I have been a fan for a while)

  5. I love W&D, times 1000, so I would be thrilled for a Frock Flicks posting! Cynthia hair is completely cray in that photo — and please explain Lady Harriet’s short hair, I’ve never been able to figure that out.

    1. It mentions there was an illness at the great house and sometimes when women got ill they shaved their heads. I am pretty sure this is why her hair is cut so short.

      1. In the book there is no mention of any illnesses so there’s not a very compelling reason for it to be in the series.I sort of reread the book to see if there was a reason for that sort ‘do… :S I’ve read some explanation that it was very popular and hip to crop hair short, but that was at least 10 years earlier, and Lady Harriet while very independent and forward (both in manners and fashion) wouldn’t sport a hairstyle so out of date.

  6. Celia Imrie in the BBC adaptation of “Black Hearts in Battersea” has some very impressive 1830s dresses and hairdos….Can’t find any pictures online though….

  7. I chorus every comment made about Wives and Daughters. I watch it at least once a year. It shares top spot with War and Peace (BBC 1972) as my favourite of favourites. I am really looking forward to the TBT blog on it.
    I too was thinking of that scene where Hyacinth is braiding a wig (not sure of correct name) while telling Mr Gibson of Cynthia’s engagement.The director had very clearly read the book as it is entirely fitting for her character.
    Also as others have remarked I was confused by Lady Harriet’s hair in the final episode. I wondered if it was a Lady Caroline Lamb reference. Did she not set a fashion amongst trendy regency ladies for cropped hair after her attempt to seduce Byron? Not sure how that fits with the time period however.

  8. Another W&D lover here! Will so look forward to your tbt rundown of it, I watch it at least once/year (I have the Elizabeth Gaskell collection on dvd and tend to binge them together – oh, now I’m thinking of Richard Armitage’s smouldering Thornton, lol) Love love love Hycanth and Cynthia’s hair! (Among so many other things) And it still totally gets me that Francesca Annis was later Lady Ludlow in Cranford.

    I will also second Mrs Merdle and Fanny Dorritt from the 2008 Little Dorritt for fab 1830s-esque hair, although I do believe it’s set more 1820s…..through most of it, anyway. It so totally works for their characters.

  9. Seen ’em all. Young Victoria and Wives and Daughters were my faves. The rest were remakes of remakes of remakes.

  10. On the 1830s front, may I recommend ‘Onegin’ (1999) for the blog? Big top-knots abound. My dvd has a rather fun ‘behind the scenes’ documentary in which the costume designer cheerfully admits to making petticoats out of down duvets to get skirt fullness easily….
    It’s more interesting for stylish male fashion of the period. Yevgeni Onegin (Ralph Fiennes) gets very nipped in waisted frock-coats, shots of him at his dressing table in a corset, and (my favourite) wears little clay hair rollers and paper rags at night to get the fashionable ‘curls framing the face’ hairstyle…..

  11. I loved Young Victoria, even if they do invent some scenes. That movie cemented by undying Fan Girl crush on Emily Blunt!

    However, I have a question – who is the actor in the photo that leads off this post? He looks so very familiar but I can’t figure out where I know him from.

  12. I LOVE 1830s hair! I recently watched the 1940 ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I definitely agree that for the most part the hair wasn’t accurate (I don’t think Elizabeth once wears her hair up – must be because of the Great Bobby Pin Shortage), some of the other Bennet can be seen wearing hairstyles that a pretty close.


    This was one of the better pictures I found that shows off all of the sisters’ hairstyles.

    Love your posts!

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