Friday, 13 July 2018

Caroline von Holnstein

Some time ago, Nightgerbil pointed out how much I look like this lady: Caroline von Holnstein.
I have to admit the resemblance is really strong. Especially in some of the pictures/scans where the haircolour is really close to mine. That sort of not-really-blonde, not-really-brunette kind of colour. The resemblance in some of the reproductions though... Not so much. 

The original painting is from the Gallery of beauties and she was 19 years old (And had been married for 3 years, had two children and lost both already) when the painting was made.
Her wikipedia page is pretty short and to the point, but I guess at that time, her story was quite extraordinary, because she did things that noblewomen just didn't. 

I have been trying to find a tutorial for her hairstyle, but with no luck. Since the painting is from 1834, it puts it right at the end of the time period you could consider regency. Her updo does remind me of the typical regency hairstyles, but instead of the front pieces being short and curled, hers are braided. It appears to be parted in the same place and shape as the regency updos. Also most regency updos seems to carry the "back bun" a lot lower. Most regency styles seems to have some sort of decoration, but this is in the end of that period, so the style could be changing...

Here's a Torin tutorial for a more classic Regency updo.

I did find one tutorial where Caroline's hairstyle is referenced, but here they say the finished updo was "inspired by" her style (In Swedish. Not sure how helpfull Google translate will be for those who don't speak Swedish). I think what they did at the neck probably is inaccurate when you look at the thickness of the braids? It looks like the back braid should be proportionally thicker than the front parts, at least in the original painting.

I think it's easier to see what was done on the reproduction of the original painting. 
The hair is split into two front pieces and one back. The two front pieces (green and yellow) and braided straight down, then looped forward and back to meet with the back braid. 
Now, what was done with the back piece I can't really tell. My best guess is a simple braid started off really high, then turned into a bun holding the two front braids down. The original painting and the reproduction both do have some thinner braids at the base of the bun, which might be coming from the front pieces?

In the reproduction, the bun is a lot flatter where the original painting has a bun that is taller than it is wide. The original bun could probably be recreated by making a Nautilus, and then wrapping the braids from the front pieces around the bun. The reproduction would probably be more accurate if you did a regular cinnamon bun with the braid.

I'm going to look around a little more, but since I've had no luck finding an accurate tutorial so far, I doubt I will be lucky...


  1. If memory serves me right, the braids were accents around a bun. I think you made two smaller braids on the side, took the bulk of your hair into a bun, then wrapped them accordingly. A student of mine was really into history and loved this period (clothing wise). The sides would be 'floppy' where the hair looped before being wound around the bun.

  2. Just a side note--very often, artists painted people but added their own version of photo shop--meaning it's possible her hair was not accurately painted.

  3. Watched victoria on netflicks. She wore a similar style except in reverse. Basically the front half of the hair is parted centrally and braided above the temple straight down. the back half of the hair is put into high ponytail> braided> bunned. Then each side braid is curled around the bottom of the ear and led back up to the top braid.

    It made me think perhaps the 2 side braids on Von Holsten were 2 braided pigtails behind each ear that were wrapped in front of the ear and up to the braid. Certainly has Scandinavian thickness hair. Must have been heavy and I don't see how it could have been held up given they are not flat to her head, but curled facing out so the braids are in fact lose perhaps? Would they have moved as she turned her head?

    So many questions...

  4. She is absolutely noble and stunning.
    Of course she looks like you! ;-)