What Pride and Prejudice's Mr Darcy really looked like

BBC Pride and Prejudice Mr Darcy Elizabeth Bennet

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged - that Mr Darcy was the most handsome, wealthy and admired fictional character for women for the past 200 years.

But a new portrait could make them think twice.

A group of historians have revealed the first "historically accurate portrait" of what they claim to be the real Mr Darcy. 

The image of Jane Austen's brooding Pride and Prejudice heartthrob is a far cry from his portrayal on screen. 

Historic portrait real darcy
The Historically accurate portrait of Mr Darcy. (Nick Hardcastle)

John Sutherland lead a team of historians at the University College London which discovered Mr Darcy was no tall, dark, mysterious and handsome Colin Firth. 

He was actually likely to have a pointed chin and nose, pale completion and powdered white hair. 

Their description is rooted in reality, with the team studying Austen's letters and descriptions left by the author. 

Other men with similar features who were the eye candy of their time included Arthur Wellesley,1st Duke of Wellington Horatio Nelson. 

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice portrait
Mr Darcy would have been around 5ft 11 in height. (Nick Hardcastle)

The team concluded that, unlike Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen's depictions of Mr Darcy, he would have had slender, sloping shoulders and a modestly sized chest. A muscular chest and broad shoulders would have been the sign of a labourer, not a gentleman, at the time.

According to historian Amanda Vickery, powdered hair, narrow jaws and muscular defined legs were extremely attractive during the time Austen wrote her numerous novels. 

The research was commissioned by TV channel Drama to celebrate its Jane Austen season. Portraits to show what the fictional character would have looked like were created by illustrator Nick Hardcastle.

In the past, experts have been wary of claims regarding the true author of the novel and also if the characters were based on real people in Austen's life or from her imagination. 

But nevertheless, although it seems there is truth to this heart-breaking depiction, as Austen put it: "a lady's imagination is rapid," and "we are all fools in love."