Mary was the Centre's Fellowships & Grants Manager betwen 2005 and 2016, and now works on a part-time basis with the Research Collections team as a Cataloguer. She has been at the Paul Mellon Centre since 1999, firstly engaged on work for the Getty Provenance Index and then, for three years, working and researching with Christopher Wright on the database of The British Paintings Index. The Index was published by Yale University Press as British and Irish paintings in public collections: an index of British and Irish oil paintings by artists born before 1870 in public and institutional collections in the United Kingdom and Ireland, by Christopher Wright (ed) with Catherine Gordon and Mary Peskett Smith (2006).

Mary holds a BA in History of Art with English Literature, and a PCGE(HE) from Kingston University. She received a Post Graduate Diploma in Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture and an MA in the architectural history of The City of Rome from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.