Say goodbye to the tall, dark and handsome man we all imagined.
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
If you want to keep your mental image of a tall, dark and handsome Mr Darcy intact, you might want to look away now.
The character from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has always been portrayed as one of literature’s biggest heartthrobs. Handsome, charming, and mysterious, we like to think of him as the early 19th century’s version of Christian Grey (just us?).
The fact that Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen both played Darcy in their respective film adaptations of the novel didn’t stop our imaginations running wild, either. But our expectations of a tall, broad-shouldered and dark-haired Darcy may have been, erm, slightly misplaced.
One artist has created an historically accurate portrait of Elizabeth Bennet’s lover, and lets just say he’s not exactly what we had in mind.
The actual Fitzwilliam Darcy would have had sloping shoulders, powdered white hair, a long nose, a pointy chin and a pale complexion. It also points out that despite his more slender frame and 5”11 height, he would have had ‘large quads, thighs and calves’.
And that was hundreds of years before Cross Fit happened.
Artist Nick Hardcastle created the portrait as part of a Jane Austen Season, a celebration of the author on TV channel, Drama. It hopes to uncover who the real Mr Darcy was, factoring in Austen’s personal life and relationships to recreate literature’s most famed romantic.
Research into the character revealed that regardless of our constant need to put a modern day Hollywood hot stamp on Mr Darcy, his dainty features would have been seen as very attractive at the time, and indicative of his wealthy status. His appearance would also have been heavily influenced by the social-economic and cultural factors on the 1700’s.
But what is not fair is that we’ll never think of Mr Darcy in the same way ever again.