Early Carved
Painted Pineapple

Probably New England to Mid-Atlantic/Southern, ca. 18th to early 19th century. Original gold or gilt paint, now heavily patinated to a bronze color, on what appears to be a hard pine. Displayed in a custom stand, using the squared tenon extending from the bottom. In brief, in the 18th century, pineapples, given their considerable expense to have brought in from tropical climates, were seen as a symbol of wealth and power, and welcome. Also, New England sea captains often placed ripe pineapples on fence posts outside of their homes to communicate their safe return from voyage. Mathematicians identified the shapes within the pineapple’s exterior as a natural Fibonacci sequence, which enhanced its appeal further. The pineapple was so sought after that it was often rented as a centerpiece for extravagant banquets, a single one equivalent to $8000 in today’s money, as it showcased their wealth, and was an instant symbol of hospitality. Some attempted to grow pineapples on their estates and would place carved pineapples on fenceposts leading to a “hot building” where they attempted to grow their own, or within the building itself. This pineapple carving may also have been used within the home as a welcoming architectural feature. Including the mount, about 12 ¾ inches tall; the mount about 4 5/8 inches square. A rare object from a private Northeast collection.