Ophelia by Thomas Francis Dicksee

  • This oil by Thomas Francis Dicksee exemplifies the tenets of the Pre-Raphaelite movement
  • The subject is the character Ophelia from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet
  • Celebrated for his depictions of Shakespearean heroines, this work is among the best in his oeuvre
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5705

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Thomas Francis Dicksee
1819-1895 | British

Ophelia

Initialed and dated "TFD 1865" (center right)
Oil on canvas

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love,
remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts. — Ophelia, Act IV, Scene 5, Hamlet


This extraordinary oil by Thomas Francis Dicksee reflects the highly detailed compositions, richly hued palettes and literary symbolism championed by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Reminiscent of the paintings of Sir John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, its meticulous yet romantic approach enhances the richness of its subject — Ophelia from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Through her melancholic, sorrowful expression and demure pose, the artist invokes a sense of this character's morality and eventual madness, which are so central to the play's themes. Ophelia is presented here in the moments before her death, adorned with a crown of flowers and holding a pansy.

Dicksee studied under Royal Academician Henry Perronet Briggs, setting him on a path of success as a portraitist and painter of historical and genre scenes. The artist was celebrated, in particular, for his depictions of Shakespearean heroines, and the present canvas is an exceptionally beautiful, poignant example. Beginning in 1841, he exhibited frequently at the prestigious Royal Academy, where he presented seven compositions of his famed Shakespearean leading ladies. Today, other depictions of Ophelia by Dicksee are held in the collections of the Mead Art Museum, Touchstones Rochdale and the Bilbao Fine Art Museum.

Dated 1865

Canvas: 15 1/4" high x 14 1/4" wide
Frame: 18 3/4" high x 17 3/4" wide
Ophelia by Thomas Francis Dicksee
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: England
Type: Paintings
Depth: 1.5 Inches
Width: 17.75 Inches
Height: 18.75 Inches
Style: Pre-Raphaelite
Canvas Width: 14.25 Inches
Canvas Height: 15.25 Inches
Ophelia by Thomas Francis Dicksee
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