Monday, October 31, 2011
Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Ophelia
pencil, pen and black ink and brown wash, on paper
8¾ x 6 7/8 in. (22.3 x 17.5 cm.)
William Michael Rossetti and by descent in his family to the present owner.
Please note that the sheet is inscribed 'Ophelia' in the lower right corner.
Surtees, vol. 1, no. 223; vol. 2. pl. 317, as 'Wood Nymph'.
Mrs Rossetti Angeli told Virginia Surtees that she chose this drawing when, as a child, she was allowed by her father, William Michael Rossetti, to select one small drawing from those left unsold at her uncle's studio sale, held at Christie's on 12 May 1883. However, the drawing does not appear to correspond to any item in the sale, so perhaps it was not even included.
The drawing shows Ophelia weaving garlands prior to her suicide by drowning. Rossetti was powerfully attracted to the story of Shakespeare's heroine.
Virginia Surtees dates the present drawing to 1870-75.