Description Lejeune began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1840, showing mostly religious subjects. He later became an associate member of the academy and served as its curator and master of drawing. Ophelia was Lord Polonius' innocent young daughter who went insane and committed suicide in Shakespeare's "Hamlet." In this frontal view, Ophelia is shown from the bust up against a dark black background, wearing a white gown edged with gold. Her long brown hair is parted in the middle and crowned by a ring of white flowers, and she modestly averts her eyes, avoiding the direct gaze of the viewer. The pose and features of the woman shown in this painting closely resemble those of a woman in another multi-figure composition by the artist titled "The Early Days of Timothy." This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1858. It is possible that this small work evolved from a study for this larger project.
Provenance Richard Philip Ltd., London; The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht, March, 1991; John H. and Alexa Schlichte Bergen-van Nierop, 1991, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1995, by gift.
Inscriptions "H. Lejeune 1857" on back of panel
Credit Gift of John and Aleza Schlichte Bergen-van Nierop, 1995
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