English Pre-Raphaelite Painter, 1844-1927
was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent, arguably the greatest female artist of that movement. During a sixty-year career she produced over one hundred works, contributing regularly to galleries in Great Britain and the United States. Maria Spartali was the youngest daughter of Michael Spartali, a wealthy merchant and Greek consul-general based in London, and his wife Euphrosyne. She and her cousins Maria Zambaco and Aglaia Coronio were known collectively among friends as "the Three Graces", after the Charites of Greek mythology (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia), as all three were noted beauties of Greek heritage. Swinburne said of Spartali: "She is so beautiful that I want to sit down and cry". Spartali studied under Ford Madox Brown for several years from 1864, with his children Lucy, Catherine and Oliver. She modelled for: Brown; Burne-Jones (The Mill); Julia Margaret Cameron; Rossetti (A Vision of Fiammetta, Dante's Dream, The Bower Meadow); Spencer Stanhope; and Whistler (La Princesse du Pays de la Porcelaine). In 1871, against her parents' wishes, she married American journalist and painter William J. Stillman. She was his second wife, his first having committed suicide two years before. His job as a foreign correspondent resulted in the couple dividing their time between London and Florence from 1878 to 1883, and then Rome from 1889 to 1896.