"He has red hair, very red, close-curling"
Judas Iscariot is often represented with red hair to symbolize his perfidy
Public DomainJudas Iscariot is often represented with red hair to symbolize his perfidy - Credit: Joos van Cleve

During the Victorian era, red hair was viewed with almost as much repugnance as sex, vice and those who worked in trade. The colour was thought to signify ferocity, excessive passion, cruelty and treachery, and any ginger-headed character appearing in a novel could immediately be understood to be a ne'er-do-well.

Read an 1851 article outlining the assumptions held about "every possessor of the obnoxious shade" here.