Tuesday, 14 October 2014
In an uncanny act of synchronicity Peter Hammill's Ophelia was playing in my ears as I walked past the statue of John Everett Millais on the way from Pimlico Station to Horsferry Road this morning.
Millais’ painting, Ophelia, was completed in 1852 and shows Ophelia, a character from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, singing while floating in a river just before she drowns. The scene is described in Act IV, Scene VII of the play in a speech by Queen Gertrude. The episode depicted is not seen onstage, but exists only in Gertrude's description. Ophelia has fallen into the river from a tree overhanging it, while gathering flowers. She lies in the water singing songs, as if unaware of her danger.