Culture Street

Twenty-one years after Colin Firth became a heartthrob by striding out of a lake in wet shirt, the shirt is going on display. As far as we know it will not be wet when displayed.

Was it really back in 1995 that Darcymania became a thing? Colin Firth stopped a nation every Sunday night as he endeared himself to the masses in Regency costume. Even now we are still talking about that scene in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

According to Andrew Davies, writer of the BBC script, we are lucky there is a shirt. He confirmed in 2013 that it almost didn’t make an appearance.
“The wet-shirt scene was intended to be a total full-frontal nudity scene.”
Now that wouldn’t have been very Regency, would it? Thank goodness for the white shirt, of which there are seven.

The shirt in question is going on display at an exhibition in Washington called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen and the Cult of Celebrity. The exhibition features portraits, porcelain collectibles and branded merchandise. It explores Shakespeare and Austen’s stories and the nature of celebrity in the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare's death and the 199th anniversary of Austen’s in 2016.

Janine Barchas, an English professor who helped curate the exhibition said, “The shirt seemed like a celebrity object that demonstrated the kind of fun that people have with Austen as an author.”

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