Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

More on pineapples

Posted on by royvickery |

Ham House, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has a set of 12 pineapple (Ananus comosus) finials along the front wall of its garden.  These are made of Coade Stone, a hard-wearing artificial stone manufactured by Eleanor Coade (1733-1821) and her successors between the early 1770s and 1840.

Although described as ‘pineapples’ the decorations bear limited similarity to pineapple fruit.  The leaves at the base of the ‘fruit’ are nothing like pineapple leaves, but, in fact, more closely resemble the ‘Acanthus’ leaf decorations which have been used on the capitals of pillars and elsewhere since the 5th century BC.  Neither do the fruit have the ‘crown’ of leaves which pineapples produce.

‘Pineapple’ decorations which actually look like pineapples are rare, but can be found, for example, on the railings of the Fitzwilliam, Museum, Cambridge, which presumably date from 1848 when the building of the Museum was completed.


Images:  Ham House finial, April 2018; Fitzwilliam Museum railings, October 2015.

Edited 2 August 2022.

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