Colin Firth’s ‘Wet Shirt’ From ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Up for Auction

The iconic costume is one of 69 worn by screen legends from Elizabeth Taylor to Madonna for sale in online charity auction

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Colin Firth’s emergence, dripping wet, from Pemberley pond in the BBC’s 1995 adaption of “Pride and Prejudice” was a priceless moment of British television.

Now, the white linen shirt he wore in the iconic scene — which in 2013 was memorialized with a 12-foot tall statue of Firth’s Mr. Darcy bursting from a lake in London’s Hyde Park — is up for sale to the highest bidder.

The moleskin breeches and velvet waistcoat that completed Firth’s costume prior to stripping down for his swim are also included in the lot in a charity auction at Kerry Taylor Auctions, where they are expected to fetch between $9,000 and $12,700.

Designed by Dinah Collin, the shirt bears a label with the actor’s name written in ink, the 1810s style costume also has a stamped label that says, “CP Darcy wet shirt,” the lot description on the auction house’s website states.

“Mr Darcy’s ‘wet shirt moment’ was never scripted,” Collin said in a statement on the site. In fact, the plunge into the pond isn’t even in Jane Austen’s book.

“It came about in discussions between myself and the late Christopher Prins who was then head of menswear at Cosprop,” she said. “In the scene Mr Darcy is spied emerging from a lake having taken a cooling swim on a hot summer’s day. Because on screen male nudity was not permitted (taking into account the BBC watershed and US broadcasts) – the idea of the ‘wet shirt’ was born.”

The costume is one of 69 lots in the online-only auction that features dresses and other garments from the UK’s renowned Cosprop store worn by screen legends including Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Street, Julie Andrews, Judi Dench, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave and more.

Among the most notable items, a dress Cate Blanchett wore as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998’s “Elizabeth,” Nicole Kidman’s costume as Isabel Archer from the 1996 film “The Portrait of a Lady,” Emma Thompson’s costume as Margaret Schlegel in 1992’s “Howard’s End,” and Madonna’s ball gown worn in 1996’s “Evita.”

Hugh Bonneville’s costume as Lord Grantham in “Downton Abbey” is one of multiple garments worn by regular characters and guests on the TV series, among them one worn by Maggie Smith and another by Shirley MacLaine.

The auction is being held Tuesday starting at 3 p.m. ET. The proceeds will go to the UK arts-based education charity The Bright Foundation.


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