Daniel Chester French (American, 1850–1931)
58 1/2 x 28 1/2 in. (148.6 x 72.4 cm)
Gift of the artist, 1930 (30.144)
Bashford Dean (1867–1928) had a long tenure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from his appointment as honorary curator of arms and armor in the Department of Decorative Arts (1906) and curator in the new Department of Arms and Armor (1912) to his 1927 election to the Museum's board of trustees. Dean worked tirelessly to build the arms and armor holdings and also gave, sold, and bequeathed numerous objects from his own collection, occasioning the trustees to propose a memorial in his honor. An initial design for the tablet included a portrait, but was rejected in favor of one with a shield motif with a lengthy inscription below. French also incorporated into the design armor parts based on those in the Museum's collection that symbolized aspects of Dean's character: a crest for loyalty, a helmet for wisdom, spurs for diligence, and a gauntlet for friendship.