Violet Oakley, a member of the Philadelphia Ten, earned a reputation as a mural painter and popular magazine illustrator in the 1890s. She had studied in England and France, and her emulation of the English Pre-Raphaelite artists is evident in Ophelia Rose, a portrait of a character in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Throughout the play, Ophelia is associated with flowers and garden imagery, and she drowns by falling into a brook while gathering blossoms for a new bouquet. With the spare rose bush and the somber, brooding atmosphere of the picture, Oakley may be depicting that moment, just before her tragic death.


  • Title: The Ophelia Rose
  • Creator: Violet Oakley
  • Date: ca. 1918
  • Physical Dimensions: w23.25 x h17.375 inches
  • Credit Line: James A. Michener Art Museum. Gift of Seymour Millstein.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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