Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lamarck Medal with Case

François-Léon Sicard (French, 1862–1934)
ca. 1910
Bronze, leather, textile
Diam. 2 3/8 in. (6.0 cm); Diam. of case 2 3/4 in. (7.0 cm); D. of case 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Miscellaneous-Coins and Medals
Credit Line:
Gift of Dean K. Boorman, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.493.1a, b
Not on view
Bashford Dean (1867–1928), the founding curator of the Arms and Armor Department, was also a highly regarded scientist. Our collection includes a wealth of information about Dean's work as a curator, scholar, and collector of arms and armor, but very little about his scientific career. Dean published several short articles about Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829, a pioneering zoologist and botanist who developed an early version of the theory of evolution. According to a biographical essay by William K. Gregory, Dean was awarded the Lamarck Medal and made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1910 for "his efforts towards advancing the memorial to Lamarck."

A circular medallion on the obverse of which is a left-facing profile portrait bust of Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck in low relief, flanked along the curvature near the left edge by the word LAMARCK and near the right edge by his life dates, 1744–1829. Below the bottom right edge of the bust the artist's name appears as F. SICARD. On the reverse following the curvature near the top edge are the words MUSEUM NATIONAL and below this in two horizontal lines the words D'HISTOIRE/NATURELLE. Below this, in the center of the medallion, there is a rising sun in low relief, with plants and a snail to the left. Beneath the sun there is a plain rectangular cartouche engraved BASHFORD DEAN and in the center below this, near the bottom edge, there is an octopus in low relief. The disk-shaped case is covered in red leather and lined with green velvet. The top and bottom lids are hinged and the case is closed by a hook and eye fixture.
Signature: Signed: F. Sicard.

Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: LAMARCK 1744–1829; F. SICARD; on the reverse: MUSEUM NATIONAL D'HISTOIRE / NATURELLE; BASHFORD DEAN.
Bashford Dean, New York (presented to him; 1910–d. 1928); by descent to Dean K. Boorman, New Jersey (until 2013; his gift to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.

Gregory, William K. Memorial of Bashford Dean. New York: Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, 1930. p. 13 (Dean's receipt of the Lamarck medal discussed).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Stephen V. Grancsay, and Carl Otto von Kienbusch. The Bashford Dean Collection of Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Portland, Maine: Southworth Press for the Armor and Arms Club of New York City, 1933. p. 11 (Dean's receipt of the Lamarck Medal discussed).

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