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Sir John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-2, oil on canvas

A mood board inspired by Shakespeare’s tragic heroine Ophelia (Hamlet). Her madness-led demise by drowning was deemed one of the Bard’s most breathtaking death announcements and, with the aid of this ethereal depiction on canvas by Victorian painter Sir John Everett Millais, her death lives to this day, immortalised by Romantics then and now.


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There is a willow grows aslant a brook,

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;

There with fantastic garlands did she come

Of crow-flowers, 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 coronet 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,

Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay

To muddy death.

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