The re-opening of The Met’s British Galleries is one of the highlights of the Museum’s 150th anniversary—11,000 square feet devoted to British decorative arts, design, and sculpture created between 1500 and 1900. The reimagined suite of ten galleries will provide a fresh perspective on the period, focusing on its bold, entrepreneurial spirit and complex history.
The British Galleries will exhibit almost seven hundred works of art, including a large number of new acquisitions, particularly objects made in the nineteenth century that were purchased with this project in mind. A prominent new entrance will provide direct access from The Met’s medieval galleries, creating a seamless transition from the Middle Ages into the Tudor Renaissance.
A seventeenth-century staircase with exquisite naturalistic carvings—brought to The Met in the 1930s from Cassiobury House, a now-lost manor house—has been meticulously conserved and re-erected like an enormous jigsaw puzzle. 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. The visual exuberance of the eighteenth century will be explored through one hundred English teapots displayed in two twelve-foot-tall semi-circular cases, as well as a huge “retail case” containing an array of enameled candlesticks, silver toys, nécessaires, and gold boxes.
Accompanied by a publication and an Audio Guide.
Funding for the renovation included leadership commitments from Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Chilton, Jr., Howard and Nancy Marks, the Estate of Marion K. Morgan, the Annie Laurie Aitken Charitable Trust, Irene Roosevelt Aitken, Mercedes T. Bass, Candace K. and Frederick W. Beinecke and The Krugman Family, Drue Heinz, Alexia and David Leuschen, Annette de la Renta, Kimba Wood and Frank Richardson, Denise and Andrew Saul, and Dr. Susan Weber.
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