Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Singing all the while

~Ophelia by Jo Bradford ~ {click here to view at my Flickr instead}

Today is the birthday of Sir John Everett Millais, co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

He is most famous for his painting of the Shakespearian character, Ophelia, from Hamlet.

Millais' painting depicts the young Ophelia's final tragic moments, as driven to madness after her father, Polonius, is murdered by her boyfriend, Hamlet, she falls into the river while picking flowers and slowly drowns singing all the while.

I saw this painting in the Tate Britain as a teenager and have been haunted by it ever since. Millais masterpieces in the Tate Britain collection sparked a long time love affair with the works of the Pre-Raphaelites and to a lesser degree a greater interest in the writings of the Bard as well.

To celebrate the birth of Millais then, let me show you my own homage to Ophelia (top), as inspired by Millais, and all the other artists who have re-imagined this iconic image from both classical literature and art.

~ Hamlet, Act IV, Scene VII ~

LaertesDrowned! O, where?
Queen GertrudeThere is a willow grows askant the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the
glassy stream.
fantastic garlands did she make
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do
dead-men's-fingers call them.
There on the pendent boughs her
crownet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that
element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious
To muddy death.
LaertesAlas, then she is drowned?
Queen GertrudeDrowned, drowned


Carla said...

hi jo, so lovely to discover your work. I love it, so full of emotion. I am now a follower. carla

DolceDreams said...

You've been busy! This shoot is so intriguing....VERY COOL! I have to find the magazine with Cher's bathtub, I am sooo curious it sounds divine. Yes I will share when I find it!
p.s. love my june boats (calendar)

magicpolaroid said...

hello! luv so much Ophelia shot!

potterjotter said...

Hi Jo - have just wandered through blogdom and stopped at you - I love your photos but just as much I love the poetry extracts. Will be returning often. Thanks.

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