American marine artist Mary Blood Mellen is most well known as a collaborative artist and friend to American Luminist master Fitz Henry Lane. Her known works are mostly of the greater Gloucester, Massachusetts region, although she studied art early in Sterling, Mass. Married at 21 to Rev. Charles Mellen in 1840, Mellen would visit family living in Gloucester and is known to have worked there alongside Lane, both in emulating his style and directly collaborating on at least one painting, a Maine coastal view which is signed by both, in the permanent collection of the Cape Ann Museum.
For years thought of principally as Lane’s student, it has been suggested that there was more of a professional equilibrium between the two artists, as their paintings as early as 1860 show strong similarities, and that Lane traveled with Mellen to paint a scene of her family’s home in Sterling. More works have been discovered, some unsigned, and attributed to both Mellen and/or Lane. While she followed his original luminist style, she was to become a marine master in her own right, painting on through the and one of very few women to paint 19th Century marine works.