The MET just unveiled its highly anticipated and newly installed British Galleries – 11,000 square feet devoted to British decorative arts, design, and sculpture created between 1500 and 1900. It comes as a highlight of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150th-anniversary celebrations which opened to the public on March 2nd.
A prominent entrance encompassed by a spiraling grand staircase provides a gateway from the galleries medieval European art, creating a seamless transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. With almost 700 works of art on view, the museum says it made the collection relevant to a contemporary audience, by highlighting the growth of the British Empire.
The visual exuberance of the eighteenth century is explored through a huge “retail case” containing an array of enameled candlesticks, silver toys, nécessaires, and gold boxes. It also includes an impressive one hundred English teapots displayed in two twelve-foot-tall semi-circular cases.
Meticulous conservation work has transformed the three magnificent 18th-century rooms from Kirtlington Park, Croome Court, and Lansdowne House, as well as the 17th-century staircase from Cassiobury House. Three magnificent historic interiors from Kirtlington Park, Croome Court, and Lansdowne House have been transformed by painstaking restoration and new lighting, and remain at the heart of the galleries.