Marie Sparteli (later Stillman) was born on March 4, 1844 to Greek immigrants living in London. While females are mostly known as the famous muses/models of the Pre-Raphaelite movement (and Marie, herself, did pose for Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti), Marie became a renowned artist in her own right.
Her father enjoyed throwing garden parties in which he was noted for inviting up and coming artists. It was during one of these gatherings that Marie met the famous writer and critic, Swinburne. It may have been through this meeting that she was later introduced to the wider Pre-Raphelite circle.
She began studying art under the tutelage of Madox Brown in 1864. Like the other Pre-Raphaelites, Marie was enamored with Shakespeare, Dante, and Boccaccio, amongst others.
At the age of twenty- seven, she wed the American painter and journalist, William Stillman. Together, they split their time between London, Rome, and Florence.
Marie and William had three children. Unfortunately, the youngest son died as an infant. However, her eldest, Michael, moved to the United States as and adult where he became a successful architecht. Her daughter, Sonia Zuckerman, is still alive, and is known for her philanthropical works.
Marie died on March 6, 1927. After being cremated, her ashes were interred in her father’s tomb.