Ophelia Through the Kaleidoscope

Shakespeare began Hamlet with the ghost of a slain king, but if there is a lasting phantom that haunts us from the play, it is certainly the character of Ophelia.  She has inspired countless works of art, and each generation attempts to explore and reconstruct her in a myriad of ways.   My current rabbit…
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In which I embrace criticism

I’ve seen comments online that say the Pre-Raphaelites mainly appeal to adolescents.  Even this 2007 piece from The Guardian quotes a senior curator at Tate Britain saying they’d have complaints from teenage girls if they didn’t show Pre-Raphaelite art.  At first I bristled at this, knowing that it is a style of art that appeals to…
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Summer Reading

Sometimes my reading life is haphazard and I dip into whatever strikes me fancy. (The right book, more often than not, seems to find me instead of the other way around.) Other times, I get a great deal of joy in creating an active reading plan to pursue. On Monday I posted William Michael Rossetti’s…
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On Suicide

Friends sometimes say it’s strange that I can simultaneously be optimistic and bubbly while also being captivated by art filled with melancholy and death.  I’m not sure how to answer except to say that I consciously choose to embrace life to the fullest and believe that my positive mindset is one of my strengths.  But I’ve also encountered death, pain, and trials in my life that have helped me understand how fleeting it is.  I want to experience it…
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Celebrating Shakespeare

Happy Birthday to William Shakespeare, born on this day in 1564.  Today is also the anniversary of the Bard’s death.  Dare I say it?  Dying on your birthday is a dramatically Shakespearean thing to do. When a young group of artists founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 they drew up a list of ‘Immortals’, made…
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Shakespeare Magazine

I am honored and excited to be in the current issue of Shakespeare Magazine. Huge thank you to editor Pat Reid for publishing my article on Elizabeth Siddal and Ophelia. It’s a gorgeous issue! Read it free online You can follow Shakespeare Magazine on Facebook and Twitter. Visit ShakespeareMagazine.com  

Celebrating Elizabeth Siddal

On this day in 1829, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall was born (she dropped a letter L from her name when she became an artist).  I write about her frequently on this site; she’s a woman I admire immensely.  You can visit my other site, LizzieSiddal.com to see a timeline of her life, view her paintings, and…
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Lizzie Siddal: Love and Hate

Many people hear about Elizabeth Siddal through dramatic anecdotes of her life, such as the serious illness she suffered as a result of  posing in a bathtub for Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia (above). In 1860 she married artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and died a mere two years later of a laudanum overdose.  The fact…
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The lure of water-women

In Rossetti’s 1853 drawing Boatmen and Siren, one of the boatmen is captivated by the siren, but is saved from certain death by his companion.  The accompanying inscription was written by Jacopo da Lentino, a Italian poet of the Rennaissance era whose work was translated by Rossetti in The Early Italian Poets: I am broken,…
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Ophelia’s Flowers

When John Everett Millais painted Ophelia he chose to depict her in the moments just before she drowns, a bold choice as most previous artists portrayed Ophelia before she ever enters the water.  This isn’t the only striking aspect of his painting, however.  In the midst of this picture of death, the plant life is…
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Ophelia update at LizzieSiddal.com

I’ve just updated the Ophelia page at LizzieSiddal.com.  I’ve transcribed text relating to Ophelia from The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais.  I have more updates planned over the weekend, but for now, Ophelia has happily dominated my evening.

Ophelia Links

Ophelia is a favorite subject here at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.  I’ve noticed a larger number of visitors finding this site due to searches for Ophelia.   For for those of you on an Ophelia quest, I’ll share a few posts from this site and a few of my favorite Ophelia links: Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites Video: Jean…
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Ophelia/Millais Necklace

I recently purchased this necklace on etsy.com.  Handcrafted by Jess Contreras, it features Ophelia which was painted by John Everett Millais, modelled by Elizabeth Siddal.   The photos don’t do it justice.  This is a beautiful piece and arrived in an adorable little silver box.  Here’s a link to his etsy shop, but he also has…
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Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites

Ophelia is a captivating character, one that inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian artists. For those unfamiliar with Ophelia, she is Hamlet’s innocent  young love interest in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays (Hamlet). Hamlet loved Ophelia – but after his meeting with the ghost of his father (Act I) he feels compelled…
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