Biography (1844 - 1927)

Header Painting: Messer Ansaldo Showing Madonna Dianova his Enchanted Garden (Detail) by Marie Spartali Stillman, 1890

Watercolour and bodycolour on paper
72 x 103 cm.
Private Collection
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© Estate of Marie Spartali Stillman

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Marie Spartali Stillman ~ Biography

Painter (1844 - 1927)

As occasional model for no less than Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, Marie Spartali Stillman remains a well-known face of the Pre-Raphealite era.

Born into a well-to-do Anglo-Greek family in London, she was greatly admired as one of The Three Graces, alongside Aglaia Coronio and Maria Zambaco, and photographed several times by Julia Margaret Cameron. Her circle of close friends included, among others, William Michael Rossetti, Lucy Madox Brown Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, George Frederick Watts, Jane Morris, the Ionides family, and James Abbott MacNeill Whistler. What few people now realise is that behind the enigmatic face lay talent and determination.

A gifted artist in her own right, Marie persuaded her father to allow her to study under Ford Madox Brown. She was a prolific painter throughout her long career - a career that she was determined to have in a time when women of her status were actively discouraged from doing so, and that she maintained throughout her marriage. She exhibited regularly at the Dudley from 1870, the Grosvenor from 1877 and at the New Gallery from 1887 until 1908, in addition to numerous exhibitions in the United States between 1875 and 1908.

Her husband, William James Stillman (1828 - 1901), a New Englander by birth, was an early and important figure in the development of American taste for a domestic school of painting. In 1855 he founded and edited "The Crayon", the first successful American fine art journal, with John Ruskin's encouragement and with William Michael Rossetti as his London correspondent. Stillman painted with members of the Hudson River school and was a pioneering and creative photographer. In Europe, following his marriage to Marie Spartali in 1871, he was a war correspondent and Rome correspondent for "The Times" from 1876 until his retirement in 1898.

Further Reading: A Pre-Raphaelite Marriage: The Lives and Works of Marie Spartali Stillman & W

Marie Spartali Stillman ~ Trivia

Source: Victorian Painting. Book, 2003. Probaly the most beautifully presented book on art I have ever seen. A treasure, a marvel, a triumph of printed matter. Everyone who loves Victorian painting should have a copy - it is that good.

The evocative titles of her richly coloured watercolours include: Cloister Lilies and Messer Ansaldo Showing Madonna Dianova his Enchanted Garden (above).

Her father was Greek-Consul general in London.

Had a younger sister, Christine.

After her husband's death, lived with her daughters in Kensington.

She was stongly influenced by Rossetti and the frescos of Ghirlandaio and Benozzo Gozzoli.

Her subjects are almost always taken from works by Dante or from Boccaccio's Decameron.

Further Reading: Victorian Painting [Book, 2003]

Marie Spartali Stillman ~ Gallery

The painter whose work is a throwback, to me, of the epic works of Ghirlandaio.

Marie Spartali Stillman Pharmakeutria (Brewing The Love Philtre) Fine Art Print
Marie Spartali Stillman
Pharmakeutria (Brewing The Love Philtre)
Sophie Anderson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Marie Spartali Stillman

Marie Spartali Stillman Messer Ansaldo Showing Madonna Dianova his Enchanted Garden
Marie Spartali Stillman
Messer Ansaldo Showing Madonna Dianova his Enchanted Garden, 1890
Stunning Canvas Print
Sophie Anderson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Marie Spartali Stillman

Links

Marie Spartali Stillman: Biography >> Trivia >> Gallery >> Victorian Painters Index >> Marie Stillman canvas prints @ ebay.co.uk (direct link to her canvas prints) - more canvas prints than anywhere else combined and vastly superior in quality to a mere print or poster >> Advertise >> Marie Spartali Stillman Books and Dvds available @ amazon.com

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Releases & Links

Marie Spartali Stillman gallery here. Trivia here. Stunning Enchanted Garden canvas print here. Victorian painters index here

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A Pre-Raphaelite Marriage: The Lives and Works of Marie Spartali Stillman & W [Book, 2007]
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