Marcus Stone. Ophelia, 1888.

By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library

Marcus Stone's Ophelia was shown in 1888 in an exhibition of twenty-one paintings sponsored by the newspaper Graphic. The series of pictures was entitled Shakespeare's Heroines.

Stone's composed, serene Ophelia appears decorously garbed in white, idly fingering the flowers she has gathered; she seems to be kneeling, perhaps in prayer or quiet contemplation. Beside her we see the neck of a lute; does Stone imagine her using the instrument to accompany her singing in Act IV, scene v? The "keepsake" qualities of the painting--the pose and Ophelia's expression--are not convincing and there is nothing that really conveys her madness and her eminent self-destruction.