For quite some time I have been haunted by the vague image of a girl lying calmly in water.Partially immersed , eyes partially closed , with water up to her ears. ; I cannot see if it is a pond or a lake or a stream. The water is green and cool. I can feel the breeze on my face.She is swaying lightly in the mild current.
Is that a forest ? There are flowers every where. Sweet smelling lotuses, lilies, jasmines, roses…..Chirping birds……..The only other sound is that of the water flowing.
A glimpse of the clear blue sky, snowy white clouds……
It was a very calm and tranquil image, but even then some times I felt the silence unbearable and looked around for a door that would open into the real world. But couldn’t find any.
The image was there in my mind day and night. I had a strong feeling it is a painting. Either it has been made already or somebody will make it for me.I surfed the net to see if there are any such paintings, just to get rid of it from my mind. Then, I came across this picture.
I was so happy to see the bizarre image in mind take a vivid shape and color, but was disturbed by the ghastly appearance on the girl’s face , the upheld hands , the entangling weeds;
Something was amiss…..!
My girl had the most happy and serene face and had her hands on her sides.Every thing else was in place.
The picture was of OPHILIA By JOHN VERRET MILLIAS (inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Shamefully, I have never read Hamlet nor did I know Ophilia .
I was aghast to know that she lay there drowned.The whole day I sat, mouth agape unable to accept it.This is not fair! It was the most beautiful picture I ever had in my mind.I concentrated hard to change her face and to put her hands straight , but OPHILIA would not heed.
In my life I have come across places and situations which I had already seen in my dreams and I hate the feeling and mystery of ‘De javu’.
OPHILIA By JOHN VERRET MILLIAS
One of the greatest Pre-Raphaelite works of all. This shows Ophelia floating down the river into which she has cast herself, feeling rejected by Hamlet. Her hair fans out in the stream, a necklace of violets around her neck and a loose bouquet of many different flowers drifting away from her slightly raised hands. All of these in Victorian flower lore contain meaning or are mentioned by Shakespeare in Hamlet. The plants on the riverbank show a typical selection of flowers and plants from an English summer hedgerow, all painted in precise detail. After casting around for a suitable location for the painting, he finally chose a quiet spot on the Hogsmill River (a tributary of the Thames) at Ewell in Surrey.
Miss Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal was working as his model lying, day after day, in a bath of water, heated only by candles and oil lamps situated underneath the bath. It was as a result of which she contracted pneumonia.