For some, the supreme artificiality of the home-grown British pineapple caused distrust and disapproval. In Tobias Smollett’s 1751 comic novel, Peregrine Pickle, Mrs Grizzle observed that she could never eat pineapples because they were “altogether unnatural productions, extorted by the force of artificial fire out of filthy manure”. However, pineapple mania seized the popular imagination, and many ceramic factories responded by producing novelty tableware in the shape of pineapples, such as this teapot in ‘ananas form’. In the 1750s, tea was still an expensive luxury, and hence this pot’s small size and limited capacity. It was probably acquired by a fashionable woman with a sense of humour who, unlike Mrs Grizzle, was a fan of pineapples, and who may even have grown some herself.
Staffordshire, England, c.1755 – 66
Earthenware with lead glazes
Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest (C.707 & A-1928)