I’ll be honest: Although I love Jane Austen, I’ve never been THAT enamored of Pride and Prejudice’s romantic hero, Mr. Darcy (Sense and Sensibility’s Colonel Brandon is more my speed). But this? It’s just too good to pass up. Here’s the dish:
According to the Daily Mail, there is currently a 12-foot tall statue of Mr. Darcy emerging from the lake known as the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. For two months, a team of three sculptors has worked tirelessly on designing, constructing, and painting the fiberglass statue, culminating in its majestic reveal—rising up from the depths of the lake, of course—this past weekend. I’m not sure whether I should be amused, impressed, or both.
The statue, of course, recreates a scene from the BBC’s 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; in it, Mr. Darcy as played by Colin Firth dramatically and wetly emerges from a lake after a brief swim just as Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehles) arrives at Pemberly for the first time. No, the scene isn’t present in the book—I can’t possibly be the only person who literally laughed out loud at the absurdity of it the first time I saw it, right?
Neither is this simply a depiction of one Mr. Darcy. Said lead sculptor Toby Crowther, “We took Colin Firth’s famous lake scene as a starting point for creating Mr. Darcy, but we also read the book and looked at performances of the brooding hero by Matthew Macfadyen, David Rintoul, and even Laurence Olivier”—so basically, we’re looking at a composite Mr. Darcy here. Is anyone else reminded of that wacky rendering of the 50 Shades series’ Christian Grey? Because I sure am—and then some.
The installation, by the way, was commissioned in honor of the launch of UKTV’s new channel, Drama. Given that the Darcy lake scene has apparently been named the most memorable Britsh TV drama moment of all time, it only makes sense that it would be chosen to celebrate the launch of a brand-new Drama channel.
After he finishes up his stint in the Serpentine, the giant Mr. Darcy will be taking his aquatic show on the road; he’ll embark on a regional tour to assorted venues around the UK before being installed at Lyme Park in Chesire, where the scene was originally filmed. He’ll stick around taking swim after swim until February of 2014.
Just for kicks, here’s a version of the scene as performed by a couple of Playmobile figures:
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.