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Friday, 10 August 2012


What's up guys? Sorry I disappeared again, I promise that now I'll be posting more-less every day, as I have a lot to share with you.

I am quite obsessed with Shakespeare's Ophelia and anything else she inspired, for example and amazing post-modern drama by Heiner Muller "Hamletmachine":
I am Ophelia. The one the river didn’t keep. The woman dangling from the rope. The woman with her arteries cut open. The woman with the overdose. SNOW ON HER LIPS. The woman with her head in the gas-stove. Yesterday I stopped killing myself. I’m alone with my breasts, my thighs, my womb. I smash the tools of my captivity, the chair, the table, the bed. I destroy the battlefield that was my home. I fling open the doors so the wind gets in and the scream of the world. I smash the window. With my bleeding hands I tear the photos of the men I loved who used me on the bed on the table on the chair on the ground. I set fire to my prison. I throw my clothes into the fire. I wrench the clock that was my heart out of my breast. I walk into the streets clothed in my blood.

Also I love the parallel with Ophelia in Lars von Trier's "Melancholia".
And of course one of the most famous interpretations of Ophelia is the painting by John Everett Millais currently up in Tate Britain:
This is one of my favorite paintings ever and I know a lot about it's history and the model Elizabeth Siddal. She was married to one of the pre-raphaelite poets and painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She was madly in love with him while he picked her mostly because she was probably the most popular model among pre-raphaelite circle and he wanted to have her and her beauty, yet remained very egocentric throughout their relationship. For Millais's "Ophelia" Elizabeth was posing in a bathtub for hours and got very ill, she seemed to recover later, yet her health got worse and worse overtime and she died aged 32. Rossetti wrote her a collection of poems and put them in her grave, yet later on he regretted this decision as thought that those poems were destined to make him famous and dug them out of the grave. Needless to say he regretted that decision too and guilt haunted him till the rest of his life.

Now why am I writing all this? Being familiar with the history of the painting I realized, that it is claimed that the landscape for Millais's "Ophelia" was painted quite close to Kingston so I decided to find this place before I move to Greater London. Overall it took me 2 days and about six hours! Seriously, it was incredibly difficult to find. First day I took the wrong bus and ended up in Esher, so I just took a picture of a local church:
So the next day I was walking around Old Malden for hours before I actually found a huge meadow (it was a little dark already) I completely fell in love it, it could be perfect for a getaway on your own or a romantic picnic, I totally see why Millais was painting there.
The meadow is surrounded by Hogsmill river which is the river on the painting (Found it!). Looks similar, huh?
If you want to find this place you need to go to Old Malden, I would suggest Malden Manor train station. Then you should follow Church Road until you reach an entrance into the woods. Then you cross the river and voila - there's the meadow.

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