Historically Accurate Portrait of Mr. Darcy May Disappoint

The 'Pride and Prejudice' character didn't look anything like Colin Firth
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2017 6:46 PM CST

(Newser) – Colin Firth stands alone. A new study commissioned by the Drama Channel finds that the "real" Mr. Darcy wouldn't have been anywhere near as attractive in today's world as Firth's infamous, wet-shirted portrayal in a 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The study was done just ahead of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, the New York Times reports. In her famous novel, Austen doesn't offer much description of Darcy, only that he's meant to be supremely attractive. According to the Guardian, that's resulted in actors who are "tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome" being tasked to play the character in modern adaptations. But it's unlikely Darcy would have looked anything like that.

story continues below

Working with experts in the social history and fashions of the late 1700s and early 1800s, illustrator Nick Hardcastle produced what's being called the first historically accurate portrait of Darcy. He has slender shoulders, a pointy chin, a small mouth, an undefined chest, a pale complexion, and his hair is powdered white. One of the experts behind the study tells the BBC the portrait "reflects the male physique and common features at the time." It also reflects some of the men Austen was romantically involved with during her life. And back in her day, someone who looked like Colin Firth would be seen as a laborer, not a gentleman. (Eight classic books creative people love.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.