I am sure that Jane Austen fans have imagined their own version of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, mine didn´t look like the actors Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen but he most certainly was tall, dark and handsome, broad chest and defined strong arms…. you get the picture.
Then comes along Professor John Sutherland from University College London and Professor Amanda Vickery from Queen Mary University of London and for a whole month they take on a study to gain a historically accurate idea of what Darcy would have looked like.
I wish they hadn’t.
The study revealed that the revered Darcy would have had powdered white hair, a pointy chin, a pale complexion, a long nose and sloping shoulders. Not quite the brooding, chiselled chap portrayed on-screen by modern-day actors.
His hair, according to the research, would have been mid-length and powdered white, reflective of the norms of the Austen era. His face would have been long and oval-shaped with a small mouth — common features among gentlemen of the era. His skin would have been pink and white; a sign of wealth and privilege.
His build would have been slender, with a “modest chest”, but with “large quads, thighs and calves”. According to the research, strong legs were an attractive and important feature to females of the time, with “well-modelled thighs a sign of virility, a good fencer and horseman”.
Unlike Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen — who are both over 6ft tall — the real Darcy would have only been 5ft 11 inches.
Either way, here is what he would have looked like, the powdered hair is enough to cringe and sloping shoulders? Nope. I will stick to my imagined version of Mr. Darcy this is fiction after all and isn´t that the purpose of reading? That we lose ourselves in somebody´s else´s world with a touch of our own?