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Title: Gates of Izard Edwards-Smythe House

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Date: Colonial America, 18th century

Material: Drawing

Description: Pinecone sculptures with scrolled leaves atop gateposts

Colonial Pineapple

These pieces of decorative ware were common in aristocratic Colonial American homes and plantations. As early as the 18th century the pineapple was found on objects such as service ware, ceramic, and architecture, displaying a textured cone with a base of expanding foliage. These representations were prominent in the Southern Colonies of the eastern seaboard, especially in the Chesapeake Bay, to complement the table bouquet of fruit with the pineapple at its pinnacle. Today’s recreated town of Colonial Williamsburg continues this tradition.

As an image appropriated from their British predecessors, the fetish for the pineapple has a deeper origin related to the Britain’s contact with the Caribbean. When Great Britain colonized islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands these “nanas” as the Tupi Indians of Rio de Janeiro called the “excellent fruit” were so difficult to attain in the motherland that it became a symbol of exoticism and opulence. The use of the pineapple then in American decorative motifs may be interpreted as a sign of prosperity at face value1.

1 Davidson, Alan. The Penguin Companion to Food. Penguin Group USA, 2002.

Coming soon

  • The Corset

About

My name is Brienne. While pursuing a Masters in Classics, I have also been attracted to the curation of collections. This site is a place to study the objects not often exhibited on museum walls. Taken out of storage these objects are presented afresh.