Titian hair

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A young woman with dark Titian hair.

Titian is a tint of red hair, most commonly described as brownish-orange in color.[1] It is often confused with Venetian and auburn.[citation needed]


The term originates from Titian, an Italian painter who would often depict women with red hair of this description. Titian has been used as a hair color term in the United States as early as the 1800s, when women were commonly using henna to dye their hair a Titian color.


Madonna and Child (c. 1508), by Titian

Titian is commonly misused as a synonym for hair colors with similar definitions or hues of color.[citation needed]

Titian hair is frequently mistaken[citation needed] with what is called Venetian hair due to similar definitions and origins. Definitions of Venetian hair describe it as being reddish and golden in quality, but the distinction between the two is that Titian is a golden-brown, and Venetian a golden-blond. The two are also often referred to as Titian-red and Venetian-blond, respectively, to emphasize the distinction.[2][3] The origins of the formulas to create these hair colors by dyeing are also the same.[4] As the Venetian women had more methods to lighten their hair,[4] the term Venetian has become specifically associated with the blond variety.

The term Titian is sometimes misapplied[citation needed] to auburn hair. While Titian hair is a brownish shade of red hair, auburn hair is a brownish shade of hair encompassing the actual color red. Most definitions of Titian hair describe it as a brownish-orange color,[5] but some describe it as being reddish.[6] This is in reference to red hair itself, not the color red.

Characters in popular culture with Titian hair[edit]

Well, we heard him say—didn’t we, Jane?—‘Who is that girl on the platform with the splendid Titian hair? She has a face I should like to paint.’ There now, Anne. But what does Titian hair mean?” “Being interpreted it means plain red, I guess,” laughed Anne. “Titian was a very famous artist who liked to paint red-haired women.”[7]

— L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


  1. ^ "Titian" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. ^ Sutherland, Daniel E. (1993). The Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860-1876. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 9781610751452. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Browne, Kreiser, Ray Broadus, Lawrence A. (2003). The Civil War and Reconstruction. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313313257. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Sherrow, Victoria (2006). Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 331. ISBN 9780313331459. Retrieved October 29, 2013. titian.
  5. ^ "Titian" in The Free Dictionary
  6. ^ "Titian" on Dictionary.com
  7. ^ Montgomery, Lucy (1992). Anne of Green Gables. New York: Bantam. p. 275. ISBN 0-553-15327-7.
  8. ^ Plunkett-Powell, Karen (1993). The Nancy Drew Scrapbook: 60 years of America's favorite teenage sleuth. St. Martin's Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-312-09881-2.
  9. ^ Caent, Emily. "THE HISTORY OF TITIAN BARBIES". Zala. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Chris Carter AMA Reddit 2014