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.