It seems anything can be an object of desire these days and a type of fruit is no exception. Everywhere you look these days you will find various renditions of pineapples popping up in homeware and fashion stores, interior design articles and pop culture in general. Being a fairly familiar object these days it’s interesting to learn about the use of the pineapple as a status symbol in the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries when it was referred to like celebrity and hired as centrepieces for social events.
‘The pineapple was so rare and expensive a commodity that only ‘the most impressive specimens made the rounds of urban dinner parties for weeks at a time, only finally consumed once they had begun to rot.’ (Fran Beauman, The Pineapple: King of Fruits, (London: Chatto & Windus, 2005), p. xii)
However a representation of the pineapple in the form of porcelain ware or a wall hanging was just as impressive. During the eighteenth century a number of ornaments were created and became popular, with the pineapple as an ornamental object.
(Wallpaper fragment with a pineapple design, from Sir Joshua Reynolds’ house, Leicester Square, London, mid-18th century. Museum number: E.468-1937. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)
(‘Centrepiece’, 1790, Josiah Wedgwood & Sons. Museum number: 2336-1901. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)
Someone here at Ultimo loves pineapples so much she has a dedicated Pinterest board. Check it out at www.pinterest.com/fleurlc/pineapples/