Oil on board, approximately 6 x 10 inches. Manchester City Art Galleries.
This small painting illustrates the last scene of Romeo and Juliet in the tomb of the Capulets. Millais perhaps intended it as a study for a larger painting, but if so he never finished the project.
Millais captures all the drama of this tragic scene. At the door a young man holds back a curious and awestruck crowd. The center group of figures hovers over the bodies of the two young lovers and one of the women, her mother probably, cradles in her hands the head of Juliet, who lies with one arm over the body of Romeo. A man on the right side of the group holds up Romeo's vial of poison. The figures on the left are the two fathers, Capulet and Montague, with one old man comforting the other. On the far left is the Prince, who will deliver the final verdict of the play:
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd. . . .
A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.