A walk through British Art – Pre-Raphaelites return to Tate Britain

John Everett Millais’s Ophelia has returned this week to Tate Britain this week, after being included in a two-year international tour interacting in different contexts and cultures which attracted an audience of over 1.1m people.

Ophelia is on display with other major works of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood at Tate Britain which are once again on the gallery’s walls, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Beata Beatrix (c.1864-1870), Ford Madox Brown’s Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet (1852-1856 ) and William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience (1853).

Other works such as John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott (1888), Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones’s The Golden Stairs (1880) and other paintings focusing on Victorian era are going also back on display.

Ophelia_Gallery 29_02                 BP Walk through British Art, Tate Britain

Millais’s Ophelia (1851-1852) was one of the founding works in Tate’s collection, depicting the drowning heroine of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The co- founder of the Raphaelite brotherhood, worked with Pre-Raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddall as his model for up to 11 hours a day, six days a week for four months.

Following loyally the brotherhood’s goal to a return to the abundant detail and intense colours, Millais painted from life the landscape of riverside nature in obsessive detail on the banks of the Hogsmill river in Surrey, England while Siddall posed for the painting in a bath of water kept warm by lamps underneath.

N021506_                     Ophelia 1851-2, Oil paint on canvas, 762 x 1118 mm

This display, bringing together around 500 artworks over a newly configured national collection of Victorian Avant-Garde British art, is a walk through time from the 1540s to the present day.

by Xenia Founta

All the Images Courtesy of Tate Photography

Tate Britain is at Millbank, London SW1P 4RG and is open from 10.00-18.00 daily

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