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Audio Guide

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The British Galleries

400. Introduction to The British Galleries

Gallery 509


NARRATOR: What do teapots have to do with colonial expansion? Or weaving a tapestry, with politics and religion? Welcome to an audio tour of The Met's collection of British decorative arts, which spans four centuries. Some of the objects you’re about to see were used by ordinary people in their everyday lives. Others graced the homes of kings and queens who changed the course of history. Though they sit quietly behind glass today, these decorative objects detail a revolution–sometimes bloody–in entrepreneurship, technological achievement, and consumerism itself.

You’ll hear the contemporary voices of a curator, conservator, and craftspeople. You'll also hear some from the past; dramatized first-hand accounts from historical figures who actually made or used these objects, and bore witness to the growth of an empire. Remember: design is never just about what we see–it’s also about people, politics, and power.



  1. 400. Introduction to The British Galleries
  2. 401. The Sixteenth Century
  3. 402. The Destruction of the Children of Niobe from a set of "The Horses"
  4. 403. The Staircase from Cassiobury Park
  5. 404. Ceramics and Craftsmanship
  6. 405. Embroidery and Craftsmanship
  7. 406. Trade and Empire
  8. 407. Teapots
  9. 408. Dining Room from Kirtlington Park
  10. 409. The Age of Enlightenment
  11. 410. Tapestry Room from Croome Court
  12. 411. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director
  13. 412. The Hanoverians and the Return of Royal Patronage
  14. 413. Retail Value: High and Low
  15. 414. Dining Room from Lansdowne House
  16. 415. The Regency Platform
  17. 416. Empire-Building in India
  18. 417. The Great Exhibition
  19. 418. Christopher Dresser and the Birth of Industrial Design
  20. 419. The Arts and Crafts Movement
  21. 420. The Bust of Mary Shelley and the Martin Brothers Bird Jar