The Easel

The Met’s Just-Opened Galleries Cast a New Light on British Decorative Arts

The renovated galleries for British decorative arts at New York’s Met are “a triumph”. What stories do they tell? One is that these objects reflect an entrepreneurial global power drawing inspiration from everywhere. But there are other narratives, notably colonization and slavery. Take, for example, the teapot: “tea has a far more illicit history than any drug or hard liquor … conditions on the plantations were shocking”.