The Pineapple in London

    The Humble Pineapple

    Often when you look up at architecture you’ll spot decorative pineapples, like this one on Christ Church Greyfriars. But what do they symbolise?

    Columbus first came across pineapples in the ‘New World’ (now Guadeloupe) in 1493 and when he brought it back to Europe it was a great symbol of wealth.

    Pineapples couldn’t be grown here until the 1600s and even then were rare and valuable. Proof of this can be seen in the painting below;

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    Charles II Presented with a Pineapple c.1675-80

    In the 17th Century it was customary to have a Pineapple as the centrepiece of meal (but as a reusable decoration, not to eat – too expensive!) So pineapples have become symbols of wealth, exoticism and hospitality, even today hotels always include a pineapple in a welcome fruit basket.

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