Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Darcy portrait sells for 12,000

Colin Firth portrait
The portrait was seen in Mr Darcy's mansion, Pemberley, in the TV adaptation

A portrait of actor Colin Firth as Mr Darcy has fetched 12,000 at Bonhams in London, double its estimated price.

The oil painting, a prop from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, received a number of advance bids.

The painting was accompanied by a signed letter from Firth, in which the 48-year-old star claimed Mr Darcy "has weathered better than most of us".

Proceeds from the sale will be shared by Oxfam and the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group.

"This painting sold for double its estimated value for the simple reason that the series so captured the heart of the viewing public, particularly the fairer sex," said Julian Roup, a spokesman for Bonhams auction house.

Wet shirt

Firth's portrayal of Mr Darcy - from Jane Austen's classic novel - secured his status as a national heartthrob.

Approximately 11 million people watched Andrew Davies' 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, when it was first broadcast on BBC One - with Firth's 'wet shirt scene' prompting a flurry of excitement.

"Whatever you think of him today, you can consider yourselves fortunate to have been spared his earliest incarnation," wrote Firth.

"Mr Darcy mark one came across as a shabby, insubstantial, derelict looking actor."

The actor went on to star in The English Patient, Love Actually and the Bridget Jones films.

More recently he was seen in the big screen adaptation of Mamma Mia!

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