Remember that amazing scene in Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy takes a dip in the lake by his country mansion, only to be surprised by running into Elizabeth Bennett, who is flustered at the sight of his handsome, dripping body?
No? Well, that scene wasn’t actually written by Austen; just a cleverly-placed alteration in Andrew Davies’ BBC adaptation. Clever in the sense that it was, and is, sure to make all female viewers swoon. I, for one, vividly remember that scene.
An Austen-loving friend just informed me that a giant statue of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy from that very scene has recently been installed in the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, London. Emerging from the water at 12 feet tall, Darcy gazes over hordes of swans and park-goers alike in all his wet-shirted, sideburned glory. The statue is eye-catching, to say the least. As a friend of mine put it, “He is a bottomless nippled giant, swaying in a lake and commanding an army of ducks and swans!”
The statue is meant to tour the UK, making stops at various watery locations across the country before finally reaching the very filming location of the infamous scene in Lyme Park, Cheshire.
It is ironic that, among other nearby literary statues – such as the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens – this one isn’t even directly inspired by the writing of the famous author. I’ll be honest: I think the sculpture looks a bit ridiculous, but as a fan of Austen as well as Firth’s Darcy, I can definitely appreciate it, at least for the sense of humour required to install it.