Tate Britain’s major Pre-Raphaelite works including John Everett Millais’s Ophelia 1851-2 and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Beloved 1865-6 have gone back on display at the museum last Friday. How exciting to see these works return to Tate Britain following an international tour to the US, Russia, Japan and Italy where they were seen by over 1.1 million people.
Millais’s Ophelia was one of the founding works in Tate’s collection. Depicting the drowning Ophelia from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the painting was regarded in its day as one of the most accurate and elaborate studies of nature ever made. The background was painted from life on the bank of the Hogsmill River in Surrey and the model was Elizabeth Siddall who posed for the painting in a bath of water kept warm by lamps underneath.
Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain said: ‘It has been fascinating to see how popular the Pre-Raphaelites have been in different international contexts and how they resonate with other cultures. It is great to welcome them back and to be able to integrate them into our permanent displays again.’