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Oil painting - Ophelia Weaving Her Garlands
  • Ophelia Weaving Her Garlands
    Redgrave, Richard CB, RA, ARA, born 1804 - died 1888
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Ophelia Weaving Her Garlands

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1842 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Redgrave, Richard CB, RA, ARA, born 1804 - died 1888 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on panel
    Frame: 19th century gilded composition frame glazed with low reflective glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:

    FA.171[O]

  • Gallery location:

    Paintings, Room 82, The Edwin and Susan Davies Galleries, case West wall

This depiction of Shakespeare's tragic heroine Ophelia was praised for its psychological insight. The madness and death of Ophelia were popular subjects for painters in the later 19th century. In Shakespeare's play Ophelia drowns herself in a river, driven mad by Hamlet's rejection of her. The painting was exhibited beside lines adapted from Hamlet:

There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook
That shews his hoar leaves in the glossy stream
There with fantastic garland did she make
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples.

The more than 30 types of flowers in this picture--and their symbolism--would have been familiar to Victorian viewers: the flowers surrounding Ophelia, and those in the garland she wears on her head, refer to constancy, love, hopelessness, and mourning; she wears a ring a grasses, relating to her longing for Hamlet. She holds a poppy-bud, symbolic of death.

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, painted)

Date

1842 (painted)

Artist/maker

Redgrave, Richard CB, RA, ARA, born 1804 - died 1888 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on panel
Frame: 19th century gilded composition frame glazed with low reflective glass

Marks and inscriptions

'Richd Redgrave 1842'
Signed and dated by the artist in white, lower right

Dimensions

Height: 76.2 cm estimate, Width: 63.5 cm estimate, Height: 102 cm Frame, Width: 89 cm Frame

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Ophelia Weaving her Garlands' by Richard Redgrave. Great Britain, 1842.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 243-44
Vikutoria & Arub?to Bijutsukan-z? : eikoku romanshugi kaigaten = The Romantic tradition in British painting, 1800-1950 : masterpieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum / selected by Mark Evans [Japan : Brain Trust], 2002. 185 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 30 cm.

Materials

Oil paint; Panel

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Water; Woman; Insanity

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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