Mead, a student of Henry Kirke Brown, lived and worked in Italy under the tutelage of Hiram Powers. His work chiefly consisted of commissions for the State Capitols of Vermont and Illinois, the U.S. Capitol and other public monuments. Mead did return to Washington in 1878 to submit to the Washington Monument Commission his designs for the completion of the Monument.
Mead suggested a plan of four reliefs, each 15 feet in height by 30 feet in length (Washington Taking the Command of the Army at Cambridge, The Surrender of Cornwalis, Washington Resigning his Commission, and the Inauguration of Washington as First President), flanked by eight panels depicting allegories, with eight statues portraying Revolutionary characters on either side of the four staircases.
From Mead's letters, now in the archives of the office of the Architect of the capitol, Washington, D.C., one knows that the reliefs were designed after paintings by John Trumbull and the large presentation models were cast in bronze. This bas-relief of The Inauguration of George Washington is one of these four bronze proposals for the decoration of the Washington Monument.