Mary Blood Mellen (American, 1817-1882)
Boat in Gloucester Harbor
Oil on canvas, 10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.6 cm),framed.
Condition: Lined, trimmed from a larger composition, mild varnish inconsistencies, fine craquelure, mild surface grime.
N.B. As an aspiring artist, Mary Blood Mellen was attracted to Fitz Henry Lane's work and was probably working in his Gloucester studio by 1848, where she began her apprenticeship making copies of Lane's work.(1) Mellen and Lane developed a close relationship and often worked collaboratively on the same canvas as well as side by side on their respective paintings. Mellen also painted many original works with considerable skill and often produced several versions of the same scene. This work is closely related to a painting Mellen produced in the 1850s titled Boats in Gloucester Harbor.(2) There are, however, some subtle differences between these works, namely the absence of the distant vessel (to the right of the rocks).
1. Wilmerding, John, Fitz Henry Lane & Mary Blood Mellen: Old Mysteries and New Discoveries, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Cape Ann Historical Museum, 2007, p. 40.
2. Ibid., plate 15, p. 65.