Save the World Club has 25 years working experience creating Award winning beautiful mosaics with the local community’s help around the Borough and main town.
We are delighted to announce that we succeeded in obtaining crowd funding for transforming a dark and grubby rail arch that is the entrance to Five Acre Field at Malden Manor just along from where Millais painted his famous “Ophilia” portrait.
Amateur sleuth discovers the site where Sir John Millais painted famous work of Ophelia
It took an eye for detail almost as sharp as the artist’s own.
But one amateur art sleuth believes she has found the exact spot where one of Britain’s best-loved paintings was created.
Retired biology teacher Barbara Webb spent 18 months trying to find the real-life setting for Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais’s £30million masterpiece.
Using historic sources combined with local knowledge, Miss Webb, 80, has concluded that the Pre-Raphaelite artist set up his easel in Six Acre Meadow on the west bank of the Hogsmill River at the bottom of the Manor House garden in Old Malden, South West London.
Iconic: Ophelia, completed by Sir John Everett Millais in 1852, is worth £30million
Inspiration: The spot on the Hogsmill River believed to be the setting for the painting
She believes it was there almost 160 years ago that Millais painted the background, at the time regarded as one of the most accurate and elaborate studies of nature ever made.
He then added the figure of the drowning Ophelia after persuading 19-year-old model Elizabeth Siddal – later the wife of Millais’s friend and fellow Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti – to pose fully clothed in a cold bath at his studio.
Sleuth: Barbara Webb spent 18 months working out where Millais’s painted his famous piece Ophelia
She later caught pneumonia but survived.
The picture, now displayed at the Tate Britain, depicts the tragic Shakespearean figure who becomes mad with grief at the murder of her father Polonius by her lover Prince Hamlet. She falls into a river and drowns.
Millais was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who rejected the 15th and 16th-century work of Raphael and his contemporaries Michelangelo and Leonardo in favour of earlier paintings.
Their ideas supported abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions.
It was known that Millais and fellow Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt had worked near Hogsmill River, but Miss Webb wanted to find for herself the exact point.
Miss Webb, who lives in nearby Kingston upon Thames, studied the accounts of Millais and Hunt, as well as records from a local clergyman specifying the riverbank spot for the 1852 painting as being ‘100 yards’ above a particular footbridge.
Confirmed: An told walking map of Malden shows where the painting was then suspected to have been completed, but Miss Webb’s research proved it
‘I was flabbergasted when I put the pieces together. The topography is the same, but there are more sycamore trees now and at the time it would have been much less shaded.’
Dr Alison Smith from Tate Britain said of Miss Webb’s detective work: ‘I think it is important. Millais would take his canvas and paint outdoors so with a bit of detective work if the sites are still there it is possible to find these places.
‘The painting is very accurate and to find the location brings the whole thing alive.’