Marie Spartali Stillman

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Marie Spartali was the daughter of Michael Spartali and was born in Middlesex in 1843. From 1864-70 she was trained by Ford Madox Brown, along with his two daughters Catherine and Lucy.
She was a noted 'stunner' and was potrayed by Rossetti and Burne-Jones as well as the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. In 1871 she married against her family's wishes. She married the American journalist and amateur artist W.J. Stillman; they had three children, one who died when it was born. The family settled in Florence in 1878, and then lived in Rome until 1898. Despite living abroad, Spartali became a regular contributor to Grosvenor Gallery from 1877 until 1887, and its sucessor - the New Gallery - as well as other venues in eastern USA.
Her sustained output proves her professionalism, but little of her work has sold. Her favorite subjects were literary-historical figure groups and decorative female heads preferred by patrons; landsapes and flower pieces are equally represented though less distinctive. Many of her works draw on Italian literary themes, especially Dante and Boccaccio as well as depicting Italian landscape.
Her daughter Euphrosyne (Effie) became an artist, and her step-daughter Lisa Stillman as well; her son Michael became an architect and settled in America, where retrospective shows were held in 1908 and 1982. She died in Britain in 1927.
This obituary was shown in The London Timeson 8th March 1927:
"Mrs. Stillman (Obituary)." At her death in her eighty-fourth year, Marie Spartali Stillman was the last of the small circle of women who contributed significantly to the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The daughter of wealthy and educated Anglo-Greek parents, she married W. J. Stillman, a widower with three children. They had three more children together, and while her parental, wifely, and domestic duties did not allow her to pursue her own art with the concentration it deserved, she was an important friend and colleague in the studios and households of Burne-Jones, Morris, Rossetti and others. Her legendary beauty is imperfectly preserved in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's paintings; photographs do not do her justice, either. Her intelligence, charm, sense of humour, and spirit were valued by the many people whose lives she touched.

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Comment From The Author: This picture (to the left) shows a
woman reading a book with a wishful expression on her face, this could be hinting at the artist's own idealistic veiws.

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