I have always loved pineapples. The symbol of hospitality and welcome, the pineapple is often seen at the entrance to grand old houses and is a recurring theme throughout history. It’s back again for 2014. Last year it was flamingoes and owls everywhere you look, this time it’s the turn of this deliciously spiky fruit and I keep seeing them everywhere.
They’re on everything from cushions and candleholders, to vases and napkin rings. My favourite is the brass vintage ice bucket version like the one above but they’re hard to get hold of.
Christopher Columbus first discovered this exotic fruit in 1493 and nearly 200 hundred years later, before anyone in Britain had tasted one, it was described by John Parkinson, the royal botanist to Charles I, as: “Scaly like an Artichoke at the first view, but more like to a cone of the Pine tree, which we call a pineapple for the forme… being so sweete in smell… tasting… as if Wine, Rosewater and Sugar were mixed together. (Theatrum Botanicum) (source).
Once it did reach these shores, everyone wanted to grow them and they became a symbol not only of wealth but of the gardener’s skill. Perhaps the best example of its use in architecture is at the summer house at the kitchen garden in Dunmore, Scotland, the seat of John Murray, Earl of Dunmore. The roof of the summerhouse, built into the sheltered south-facing wall, is carved into the shape of a giant stone pineapple.
So anyone for pineapples? Or are we just cutting straight to the pina coladas?