The Real Mr. Darcy Has Finally Been Revealed
Thanks to Colin Firth and the iconic lake scene in Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy will forever be known as literature's broody heartthrob.
Yet according to new research, Jane Austen's famous fictional character would actually have been a pale, pointy-chinned man with sloping shoulders and powdered white hair.
After a month-long study, academics have created the first historically accurate portrait of the "real" Fitzwilliam Darcy, who has often been portrayed on screen by tall, dark, and handsome actors including Firth and Matthew MacFadyen.
The research, led by John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at University College London and Amanda Vickery, Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London, explored how the qualities considered to be attractive have changed over the past 200 years.
To come up with the portrait, the team looked into the existing descriptions and illustrations of the character, and examined the socio-economic and cultural factors that would have contributed to Darcy's appearance.
In the late 1790s, at the time Pride and Prejudice was written, Darcy's pale complexion was a sign of wealth and privilege, but square jaws and a broad chest were unheard of amongst the upper classes. Instead, sloping shoulders, a pointy chin and a small mouth were more common features for gentlemen of the era.
While strong legs were said to be attractive to women, it's unlikely that the real Darcy would have been tall. It's estimated he would have been around 5ft 11, rather than Firth's 6ft 2.
"Men sported powdered hair, had narrow jaws and muscular, defined legs were considered very attractive," Professor Amanda Vickery explained in a statement. "A stark contrast to the chiseled, dark, brooding Colin Firth portrayal we associate the character with today."
Fans of the modern-day Darcy might want a reminder of this...
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.