Mary Blood Mellen

Mary Blood Mellen (1819–1886) was an American painter who was one of several individuals (including William Bradford, Benjamin Champney (1817–1907), and George Merchant Jr.) who studied under Fitz Henry Lane (also called Fitz Hugh Lane). Mellen is one of a number of women painters joined with the Hudson River School of artists in nineteenth-century New England. Her paintings often included landscapes and maritime images. Though she spent mature in New York and Connecticut, Mellen lived primarily in Massachusetts, and many of her paintings find their source in the Massachusetts and Maine landscapes and seascapes. In 1840, she married the Rev. Charles W. Mellen, a Universalist minister at a number Massachusetts churches prior to his death in 1866.

As a copyist, Mellen created studies and copies of the act out of her friend and mentor Fitz Henry Lane. According to Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford, "When [Lane] called at her dwelling to see the latest copy of [one of his paintings], the [Lane] and the copy were brought the length of together..." evidently as a open challenge to Lane, to spot which was his original. As a talented painter in her own right, Mary created numerous compositions of her own as well. Her paintings tally a landscape of the Blood family home (presumably her childhood home), a representative seascape entitled Shipwreck upon the Beach (1870s), and a painting that portrays ships at sea as well as a pastoral New England countryside entitled Field Beach (c 1850s). Like Lane and others joined with the Hudson River artists, Mellen painted in the luminist style popular in mid-nineteenth century America.

Mary Blood was born to Reuben Blood Jr. and Sally Taylor a couple from Sterling, Massachusetts. Though she had two older brothers, Mary was the eldest daughter and there was a considerable gap of twelve years before the adjacent of her four younger siblings were born. In Sterling pubertal Mary would learn to paint in watercolors. Her talents must not have once unnoticed, for within a few years she was studying at the Frye Academy in available Bolton, Massachusetts, a school established in 1823 by Thomas Fry (a local Quaker) as a co-educational preparatory school. An psychoanalysis of census reports from those years indicate that Mary was something of an smart and artistic standout in the family. None of her siblings appear to have risen from the labor class of the day.

In the 1830s, the relations relocated to Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, and by 1839 a young Universalist minister, Reverend Charles W. Mellen, would arrive to act as pastor in the against town. Reverend Mellen came from a family of farmers from friendly Phillipston. He and Mary must have made one-another's acquaintance quite early, for in 1840, after just a year spent active in adjacent to towns, the youth pair married. Charles was an eligible bachelor at the time, and as soon as the two solitary a year apart in age, Charles had the proper "taste and culture... to accept a lively incorporation in [Mary's] efforts at oil painting...".

For the adjacent few years Charles' itinerant ministering designed that the duo were more-or-less constantly on the move. In 1846, while buzzing in Foxborough Mary gave birth to a daughter, Amanda. The infant would bring to life for and no-one else 48 hours. The couple never had any further children, and Amanda's gravestone reads, "Our short-lived flower returned unto God."

It is vague how the Mellens first became acquainted in the same way as Fitz Henry Lane, but by 1845 the juvenile couple was lively just south of Boston; a time later Lane's reputation in the city was growing considerably. Charles' brother William Grenville Rolland Mellen was plus a Universalist minister, and during the late 1840s was acting as pastor at the Second Society of Universalists in Cambridge. It is likely that the couple would have spent become old in the city socially, visiting Charles' brother. It is not difficult to imagine a woman with Mary's artistic and cultural inclinations taking advantage of the opportunity to evaluate New England's cultural Mecca. The Boston Athenæum would have been a likely destination. At that mature it boasted the largest art amassing in New England. Lane's proceed would have going on for certainly been upon display during those years, and it is realistic that Mellen became acquainted later him first through his play-act in this way. The bordering few years operating more travel for the Mellens, including a brief stint in Glen Falls, New York.

In 1855 Charles' brother William was invited to become the minister of the First Universalist Church on Middle Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts. William moved later his wife and children to a small rented home near the eastern subside of Main Street, an area which would have overlooked Lane's recently build granite house on Duncan Point. That same year, Charles and Mary resettled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. While most of Mary's steadfast work is undated, the Lane paintings she copied generally date from practically 1855 onward. Her brother-in-law's relocation to Gloucester that thesame year suggests that she may have begun taking regular excursions to Gloucester from Weymouth. While the details of their professional relationship are mostly undocumented, it is known that they had collaborated, as evidenced by a small 1850s painting entitled Coast of Maine, now in the amassing of the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, which is signed by both artists upon the backside of the canvas. Mellen and Lane are along with known to have traveled together in 1859 to the old-fashioned Blood family home in Sterling. Both artists painted a rendition of the scene, with the two paintings depicting a interchange season.

By 1861 the Mellens were lively in Dorchester, Massachusetts, with a rushed commute to Gloucester. A few years far along in 1864, the couple once more relocated to Taunton, Massachusetts, roughly 40 miles south of Boston. The bordering two years proved a difficult time for Mary as she would learn of Lane's passing in 1865, and would as well as lose her husband gruffly in 1866.

Following her husband's death, she relocated to Hartford, Connecticut, moving in taking into consideration her sister-in-law, also recently widowed. Census reports from this time reveal Mary's goings-on as an "artist", a distinction that had not past been made during her epoch painting when Lane. Widowed and childless, this may indicate the talent of her identity as an performer in her own right. It was, at the unquestionably least, her primary source of pension during those years. She is known to have owned a number of Lane's paintings, and was nevertheless engaged in creating copies. However, there is evidence suggesting a unique body of ham it up of her own, including a series of moonlight pieces, thought to either have been a series based upon a aimless and unidentified Lane, or perhaps "her own creations over and done with during a grow old of protracted mourning for the two men who played such significant roles in her life."

In the ensuing years she moved in the midst of Taunton and her family home in Sterling, where she succumbed to typhoid in 1886. Her death sanction again specifies her leisure interest as an artiste and several obituaries commented on her capability as a painter and the popularity of her work. Her will, which was drawn taking place in 1882 specifies to which niece and nephew each of her original Lanes should go. She furthermore specified that Lane's nephew Fitz Henry Winter should get a painting by Lane, as competently as a portrait of him that was in her collection.

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