Michael Spartali married Maria Varsoni. They had two daughters, Marie (Mrs W. J. Stillman) and Christine (later Countess Edmond de Cahen). The Spartalis were related to the Greek shipping family, the Ionides.
Michael Spartali was a prosperous and prominent member of the Anglo-Greek community in London, an import-export merchant and later Greek consul in London.
His daughter, Christine Spartali posed for Whistler's oriental subject painting, La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (YMSM 50), in the winter of 1863-64 and she is said to have suggested that Michael Spartali should buy it, but he objected to it as a portrait, and refused to do so.
Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980.