Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
Margaret French Cresson (American, 1889–1973)
American, New York
58 1/8 x 28 1/2 in. (147.6 x 72.4 cm)
Gift of Daniel Chester French, 1930
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 503
In addition to founding the Museum’s Department of Arms and Armor, Bashford Dean (1867–1928) was also a professor of vertebrate zoology at Columbia University and the founder and first curator of the Department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History. While conducting scientific research in Japan, Dean formed a large collection of Japanese arms and armor, which he donated to the Metropolitan in 1914. He also amassed an important collection of European arms and armor, much of which he bequeathed to the Museum. Daniel Chester French, one of America’s leading sculptors and the creator of such famous monuments as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was a trustee of the Museum and chairman of the Committee on Sculpture from 1903 until his death. He created this bronze relief tablet, one of his last works, as a personal tribute to Dean. The lettering on the relief was carried out by French’s daughter, Margaret French Cresson, a noted sculptor in her own right, who assisted him in some of his later projects.
Signature: Signed and dated (lower right): D.C.F./1930
Inscription: Inscribed: (on shield) LOYALTY / WISDOM / FRIENDSHIP / DILIGENCE; (on field, lower half) BASHFORD DEAN / 1867–1928 / HONORARY CURATOR OF ARMS AND ARMOR 1906 / CURATOR OF ARMS AND ARMOR 1912 / TRUSTEE 1927 / THE REAL FOUNDER OF / THE MUSEUM'S COLLECTION / WHICH BY HIS KNOWLEDGE AND DEVOTION / HE MADE / ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT / OF THE WORLD
Marking: Foundry mark (lower right, under signature): KUNST F'DRY N.Y.