The character of Ophelia comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The daughter of Polonius. Due to Hamlet’s actions she ends up in a state of madness that ultimately leads to her drowning. When Millais painted Ophelia he used the Hogsmill River, in south-west London as the scenery. It is an icon of the pre-Raphaelite era.
Millais then worked on the female figure for Ophelia, with a series of drawings, the pose being depicted below.
The curious thing about a famous image is how it is translated by others. Bryan Organ took the work and abstracted it to the simplest forms with two lithographs.
Years later the photographer Tom Hunter recreated the painting as a photograph in his series Life and Death in Hackney. An amazing photograph in real life it adds something of our time with her situated behind an industrial estate.