Photographer's Note

This is the Dunmore "Pineapple", a folly said to "rank as the most bizarre building in Scotland". Situated in Dunmore Park, the ancestral home of the Earls of Dunmore, the building is also claimed to be one of the architectural wonders of Scotland.

The "Pineapple" was built into the north wall of a large walled garden in 1761 by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. The hothouse, which was located in the ground floor of the building, was used, amongst other things, for growing pineapples. The south-facing ground floor, which is now covered in stucco and largely overgrown with vines, was originally covered with glass windowpanes. Additional heat was provided by a furnace-driven heating system that circulated hot air through cavities in the wall construction of the adjoining hothouse buildings. The smoke from the furnace was expelled through four chimneys, cleverly disguised as Grecian urns.

Discovered by Christopher Columbus on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1493, pineapples became a rare delicacy in Europe, and were symbolic of power, wealth, and hospitality. The pineapple was adopted as a motif by architects, artisans and craftsmen, being sculpted into gateposts, railings, weather vanes and door lintels. The motif also featured prominently in interior decoration, fabrics and furniture. The Dunmore Pineapple is perhaps the most spectacular architectural use of the motif.

The Dunmore Pineapple is around 14 metres high and constitutes a stunning example of the stonemason's craft, being a remarkably accurate depiction of a pineapple. Each of the curving stone leaves is separately drained to prevent frost damage, and the "stiff serrated edges of the lowest and topmost leaves and the plum berry-like fruits are all cunningly graded so that water cannot accumulate anywhere, ensuring that frozen trapped water cannot damage the delicate stonework."

The Dunmore Pineapple is now owned and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. You can also, if you wish, stay here in accommodation organised by the Landmark Trust.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1811 W: 411 N: 6535] (26470)
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