Mrs. Zambaco

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1870
Model: Maria Zambaco


◦ Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 282.

DGR 1828-1882: An Exhibition, Tokyo 1990, 111 (plate 60).

◦ Marsh, The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood .

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 202 (no. 541).

Scholarly Commentary


Maria Cassavetti arrived in London in 1866, after leaving her husband, Demetrius Zambaco, in Paris. With the help of her cousin, Alexander Ionides, she quickly befriended the artists in Rossetti's circle and posed for a number of their pictures. A well-to-do, beautiful, and unconventional woman, she and Burne-Jones fell in love in 1867 and nearly eloped in 1869. Her face appears most famously in his painting The Wine of Circe, which he finished in 1869. The picture so struck DGR that he wrote a sonnet for it. An artist in her own right, she was best known for her portrait medallions (DGR 1828-1882: An Exhibition, 111).

Production History

DGR produced four portraits of Maria Zambaco that are all dated 1870. The only reference DGR makes to a portrait of her is in a letter to Mrs. Morris of 4 March 1870: “I think I have made a good portrait of Mary Zambaco, and Ned is greatly delighted with it. Indeed I enclose a note from that poor old dear which I have just got, as it shows how nice he is. I like her very much and am sure that her love is all in all to her. I never had an opportunity of understanding her before” (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 70. 41 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s541.raw.xml