Marie Spartali Stillman (1844–1927) was one of the few professional female artists working in the late nineteenth century. The English artist was closely affiliated with the Pre-Raphaelite circle, acting as a model for Ford Madox Brown and George Frederic Watts, among others. Brown later became Stillman’s painting instructor when she decided to pursue art herself. Despite the demands of motherhood and domestic life, Stillman went on to have a successful career, exhibiting her work in England and America, though she has received little scholarly attention.

Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman, the first retrospective of this under-represented artist, opens at the Delaware Art Museum next month. The exhibition’s featured works are drawn from public and private collections, and many have never been publicly shown since Stillman’s lifetime. The accompanying catalogue includes three essays that cover Stillman’s biography and working practices, in addition to entries for each of the roughly fifty exhibited works.


Photography by Jeremy Linden