Mary Blood was born in Sterling, Massachusetts, in 1817. Following her marriage to Rev. Charles Mellen in 1840, the couple moved to Gloucester. By the end of that decade, Mellen found herself working alongside artist Fitz Hugh Lane.
In recent years, scholars have discovered that the relationship between Lane & Mellen, which has often been presented as one of master artist & student, was really more than that. Although Mellen’s style is clearly a derivative of Lane’s maritime art, it is now believed that the Lane & Mellen relationship was really much more of a collaboration than was originally thought.