Imagining #MrDarcy: The Faceless Man and the Book Cover

category Cover, Suzan Lauder | 6

When other authors mention the name of someone they had in mind as Mr. Darcy while writing their Austen-inspired fiction, once in a while, I’m able to visualize their version of the hero while reading. It’s not easy. Otherwise, the closest Mr. Darcy image that comes to my mind for Mr. Darcy is that of a Disney hero.

Disney Princes (from The Disney Wiki http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Disney_Prince)
Disney Princes (from The Disney Wiki http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Disney_Prince)

The odd time, glimpses of a faceless man similar to the rear view of Colin Firth in the 1995 A&E/BBC adaptation occur. Of course, there have been other actors in other adaptations, and I like some better than others.

From the BBC/A&E 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy walks along the gallery at Pemberley.
From the BBC/A&E 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy, walks along the gallery at Pemberley.

Austen herself is no help. She just said he was tall and handsome, with a noble mien and fine figure. He could be bald! Of course, the costume people would put a dark, curly wig on him. Is it a wonder dreamy-eyed JAFF authors persist in mentioning those slightly unruly curls?

David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy in BBC's 1980 mini-series "Pride and Prejudice." Mr. Rintoul wore a hairpiece for the role.
David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy in BBC’s 1980 mini-series “Pride and Prejudice.” Mr. Rintoul wore a hairpiece for the role.

I try very hard to imagine Mr. Darcy as eye-candy actor Henry Cavill (before the Superman bulk), even if he’s almost too pretty. A story I posted on Jane Austen fan fiction mega-site A Happy Assembly (Studio 54) “cast” the inimitable Christopher Reeve as Darcy, since he was the right age for the story’s era. I like the late Gregory Peck in mid-20th century stories. But none of their faces come to mind when I’m writing.

As part of my addiction to Pinterest since the Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment, I’ve pinned some portraits of terribly handsome real Regency gentlemen, and maybe… but try as I might, no Darcy. I look at book covers that supposedly have Mr. Darcy on them, and to me, none of those gentlemen are quite right.

This is a problem when you want Mr. Darcy on your own book cover.

New Letter from Ramsgate character, Lady Edwina Moore, is easy to imagine. Georgiana Darcy can be a young Caroline Murat. And there’s sneaky Mr. Wickham bothering her, and Elizabeth Bennet in the background with her dizzy parasol. But where’s my Mr. Darcy for Letter from Ramsgate‘s cover?

Lady Edwina Moore from Suzan Lauder's "Letter from Ramsgate" (artwork: Henri-Pierre Danloux, Portrait of a Young Lady in a White Dress, from Sotheby's)
Lady Edwina Moore from Suzan Lauder’s “Letter from Ramsgate” (artwork: Henri-Pierre Danloux, Portrait of a Young Lady in a White Dress, from Sotheby’s)
Miss Georgiana Darcy from Suzan Lauder's "Letter from Ramsgate" (Artwork: François-Pascal-Simon Gérard's painting "Caroline Murat walking in the gardens of Château de Neuilly," 1807, from Versailles)
Miss Georgiana Darcy from Suzan Lauder’s “Letter from Ramsgate” (Artwork: François-Pascal-Simon, Baron Gérard’s painting “Caroline Murat walking in the gardens of Château de Neuilly,” 1807, from Versailles)
Mr. Wickham from Suzan Lauder's "Letter from Ramsgate" attempts to woo Miss Georgiana Darcy, while Miss Elizabeth Bennet wanders around in the distance, spinning her parasol. (Artwork: Debucourt, Modes et Manières du Jour no. 34)
Mr. Wickham from Suzan Lauder’s “Letter from Ramsgate” attempts to woo Miss Georgiana Darcy while Miss Elizabeth Bennet wanders around in the distance, spinning her parasol. (Artwork: Debucourt, Modes et Manières du Jour no. 34)

I suppose one could have a worse dilemma than having to peruse artwork in search of Mr. Darcy! In any case, the wonderful Zorylee Diaz-Lupitou is the cover designer for Letter from Ramsgate, and whether or not Mr. Darcy’s face appears, I love her covers, so I know it will be fantastic.

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Suzan Lauder’s latest novel, Letter from Ramsgate, will be published by Meryton Press in the autumn of 2016.

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2016 May 17 Edited to add a note: For some reason, readers have flocked to my blog for this post, yet none have left comments on my blog, road trips with the redhead! I wonder if you all saw the hot Regency guy and clicked to discover who the heck he is! If someone asked, I’d tell, but I’m not sure that’s the reason this post is so extremely popular! Can anyone give me a hint?

Thanks! Suzan

6 Responses

  1. Christina Boyd
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    Lately the face I imagine is David Gandy as Mr Darcy. (Swooning)

  2. K Berlin
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    None of the media Darcys fit my image and I have not seen a portrait or a photo of anyone who quite fills the bill. He remains elusive and maybe that is for the best. My own Mr. Darcy is like him in character and that is what counts, the essentials.

  3. Abigail
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    One trick some designers use to good advantage is to show a figure without showing the face—back-to, in profile, torso but not head, etc. I do like things like faces left to the imagination!

  4. Suzan Lauder
    |

    Thanks for the comments, my friends! Mr. Gandy looks too world-weary and about ten years too old for my Mr. Darcy. (I’ve used the word grizzled before, but I think he’s had some “work” done!) He does have a fine figure: fit yet not too bulky.

    I’m not super-fond of most headless covers. Many make me suspect a slip during cropping of the portrait during drunk photoshopping, then the person hit send without checking, with no way to take it back! I do prefer headless to the smarmy Darcys with 90’s hair and orangish tans, though. In addition there are some very nice headless covers in the case where the rest of the artwork says a great deal.”Undeceived” has partial profile in silhouette from behind, and that’s a cool cover, so faceless is possible with a head!

    But Zorylee confided she likes Eric from the Little Mermaid! I trusted her before that mutual appreciation! This just adds to my excitement about the cover! Thing is, the Darcy she chooses will be the right one. I feel it in my bones.

  5. Gail W
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    My Darcy’s face remains elusive, but CF has the general mien – the stature, the figure, and definitely the walk.

  6. Suzan Lauder
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    Gail, I love P&P ’95, and like many, when I watch it or see the still photos, Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy. I agree on your list of attributes, plus I add the voice. Other actors have one or two key attributes, but don’t fit the image quite so well. I first became smitten with Colin in “Love Actually,” and didn’t see the P&P adaptation until years later. But he refuses to be in my head when I write my novels. Who is the shadowy fellow destined for LfR? Only Zorylee knows!

    Does anyone else have a fantasy Mr. Darcy?