'The First Madness of Ophelia', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Three concerned figures surround a central female figure in blue

Watercolour on paper, dated 1864, 39.4 x 29.2cm, Gallery Oldham, Charles Lees collection

The title suggests Ophelia's first appearance in the scene from Shakespeare's play showing her madness.

However, Rossetti may have had in mind the later part of the same scene when, garlanded with flowers and in the presence of her shocked brother Laertes, she recites the names of the plants - rosemary for remembrance, pansies for thoughts, fennel, columbine, rue, daisies and violets.

Significantly, Ophelia is given the features of Elizabeth Siddal.