George Frederic Watts. Ophelia, c. 1864.

Oil on canvas, approximately 25 x 30 inches. Watts Gallery, London.

This picture of Ophelia peering through the willow branches at the stream below was not exhibited until 1881 when Watts mounted a one-man show. The model was Ellen Terry, the teenage actress Watts had married in 1864. Watts, then in his forties, did several pictures of his young bride, the most famous of which was Choosing; both paintings were done within the first year of their marriage, after which they separated.

Ellen Terry went on to a distinguished career on the stage. She actually played Ophelia in 1878 when Sir Henry Irving choose her to play opposite him when he mounted his highly acclaimed Hamlet at the Lyceum (see Christian 189-90).