The First Madness of Ophelia

Image credit: Gallery Oldham

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This is a scene from Shakespeare's play ‘Hamlet’. It shows Ophelia mad with grief from Hamlet's rejection and her father's death.

Rossetti had founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt. This watercolour reflects his love of medieval dress and pattern. Charles Edward Lees bought this artwork in 1892. It was given to the Gallery much later, in 1952, by his daughter Marjory (1878–1970). It had formerly belonged to the Glasgow-born politician and Pre-Raphaelite patron William Graham (1817–1885).

Gallery Oldham



The First Madness of Ophelia




watercolour & gum arabic on paper


H 39.4 x W 29.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Marjory Lees, 1952

Work type



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Gallery Oldham

Greaves Street, Oldham, Greater Manchester OL1 1AL England

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