A greek heiress, she was as beautiful and willful as she was wealthy. Not backward at coming forward, she shocked society and frightened off her first suitor, George du Maurier, so she set off to the continent in search of a husband and amazed her friends and family by marrying the very dull Dr Zambacco. Eventually the marriage failed and Maria Zambacco, wealthy enough not to worry about the scandal, returned to London to live with her mother, a great patron of the arts, where she started up a career as a sculptress. Her mother employed Burne Jones to paint a portrait of the lovely Maria, and the two began an ill-fated affair. Burne-Jones could not handle the guilt so broke off the affair but he could not escape her spell and spent the rest of his life trying to exorcise her ghost, painting her in the guise of sorceress and temptress, time and time again.