Thomas Francis Dicksee
1819-1895 | BritishOphelia
Initialed and dated "TFD 1865" (center right)
Oil on canvasThere'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.
Canvas: 15 1/4" high x 14 1/4" wide
Frame: 18 3/4" high x 17 3/4" wide