Marie (née Spartali) Stillman (1843-1927)

Marie Stillman

Stillman was a painter who trained with Ford Madox Brown between 1864 and 1870. She produced an oeuvre of over 170 watercolour paintings depicting half- and three-quarter- length lone female sitters, literary-historical figure groups, landscapes and flower painting. She exhibited regularly at the Dudley Gallery from 1867, at the Grosvenor Gallery from 1877 and later the New Gallery, as well as the Society of Women Artists and regional exhibitions in Britain and America.

In a bid to prevent posthumous biographers from misinterpreting her words, Stillman burnt her own diaries and correspondence, leaving just a few written pronouncements regarding her artistic work and making a thorough biography difficult to construct.1 However, like her fellow Three Graces, Stillman features in a write up by Pamela Gerrish Nunn in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Furthermore, she is the only one of the Three Graces to have received substantial biographical study. David Elliot's A Pre-Rapahelite Marriage: The Lives and Works of Marie Spartali Stillman and William James Stillman documents her life in relation to that of her husband and illustrates a great many of her paintings. Yet, much more remains to be known about her life, art works, artistic practices, exhibition histories and patronage. This portal page is currently under development.

University of York staff and students and visitors with institutional access to the Oxford DNB will be able to access the link above.

View the Stillman section of the Three Graces exhibition

1. For a rational of her actions see: Stillman - Cathy Madox Brown, MSl/1995/14/105/10, 15 Jan 1895, in Ford Madox Brown Correspondence, NAL Col., V&A