Monday, 9 September 2013

Dunmore Pineapple

The Dunmore Pineapple is one of the most extraordinary, extravagant and wonderful buildings in Scotland, or anywhere else. It was built in 1761 by John Murray, fourth Earl of Dunmore to create a sensational gazebo, or folly, in the larger of the two walled gardens at his ancestral home, Dunmore Park.

On the ground floor was a hothouse used for growing, among other things, pineapples.Smoke from the heating system was expelled from chimneys disguised as Grecian urns. Pineapples were 'discovered' by Christopher Columbus on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1493. They became a rare delicacy in Europe and were a  powerful symbol of wealth, hospitality and agricultural innovation.

The pineapple was used as a motif to decorate entrances, houses and interiors across Scotland, but nowhere to greater effect than the magnificent depiction of the fruit at Dunmore. The architect is unknown, but so well conceived was it that it is not only a visual tour de force, but so carefully constructed that for example, each of the serrated leaves is  drained individually to prevent  frost damage.

In 1970 the Dunmore Estate was broken up and sold in separate lots. The Pineapple was bought by the Countess of Perth who late sold it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1974. The Trust in turn leased the folly to the Landmark trust who let the two gardener's bothies(cottages) as holiday accomodation.