Published Feb 10, 2017 12:32pm

Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice isn't as swoon-worthy as we imagine him to be

Nope! It's not Matthew Macfadyen!
Nope! It's not Matthew Macfadyen!

Mr Darcy, the romantic hero of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, has been portrayed by a string of show business heart-throbs, but a new study suggests he would probably have looked very different from the modern ideal of masculinity.

Austen is likely to have had in a mind a man with sloping shoulders, white powdered hair, a pale complexion, thin oval face and a small mouth, according to academics who were asked to advise on the most historically accurate look of Mr Darcy, to mark a television series celebrating the writer's work.

This is what Mr Darcy is actually supposed to look like
This is what Mr Darcy is actually supposed to look like

The late 18th-century depiction of masculine beauty may disappoint the image that many women have of Mr Darcy who has been played in cinema and television versions of the book by actors such as Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth.

"Darcy's character has been sexed up for the modern day audience with a turbo-charged injection of testosterone and steamy romance," said Amanda Vickery, a history professor at Queen Mary University of London.

I think we'll stick to our Colin Firth fantasies
I think we'll stick to our Colin Firth fantasies

"Men sported powdered hair, had narrow jaws, and muscular, defined legs were considered very attractive, a stark contrast to the chiselled, dark, brooding Colin Firth portrayal we associate the character with today."

The research was commissioned by television channel Drama ahead of the launch of its Austen season.


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Comments (3) Closed

ABE Feb 10, 2017 12:59pm

Jane Austen must be turning in her grave.... What gives these people the right to second guess what the author had intended? Did she leave behind some cliffs notes??

Hassan (Karachi) Feb 10, 2017 03:08pm

@ABE The word used is "Adaption", which changes with time.

Riz USA Feb 10, 2017 06:46pm

I think Jane Austen had the normal image (Mr. Darcy) in mind however movie makers had a different idea to generate the ratings. Jane Austen's image would have done equal if not better in the movies. Probably much much better!!!!!