The Ministry and the Pineapple

by Ministry Admin on January 28, 2016

Pineapple at restIf you are not aware…pineapples play a big part in Countless Hues of Crimson (available for sale in December)

Yes, Kickstarter backers helped fund the Victorian erotica mentioned in the beginning of The Diamond Conspiracy…and as a symbol for this our journalists in their wisdom chose the pineapple—quite frankly because they thought it was funny.

However, by shear chance they picked a fruit which does have quite a history of symbolism…though none of it is erotic.

Pineapples originate from South America, and were brought back from the New World to the Old by Christopher Columbus. To a Europe starved of sweetness, they were absolutely exciting, but they still named it after the pinecone they thought it resembled. Pinecones are far less tasty though.

However it was quickly realized these prickly fruit could not be easily grown anywhere but the tropics without a great deal of trouble. So, the rich and royal of Europe then set about having their gardeners go to a great deal of trouble. It took them centuries to figure out how to do it in the colder climates.

King Charles gets a pineappleIn the eighteenth century, Europe fell into pineapple madness. George Washington in America, Queen Catherine the Great in Russia, King Louis XV in France, and King Charles II in England were among the rich and famous to have the prickly fruit grown or procured for them. However it wasn’t easy; these ‘pineries’ were engineering marvels, designed to provide constant temperatures, light, and eventually they could be grown in Scotland even!

Pineapples soon became the stylish fruit to have because of their rarity and expensive to grow. The fruit was a sign you were someone! You would proudly display it for your dinner guests—not necessarily eat it though. You might even let it rot before eating it. You could even a pineapple if you couldn’t quite afford to have one grown for you.

That was how it become a symbol of wealth, hospitality, and friendship. Soon people were carving them in stone and wood, having them woven into carpets and drapes, and generally making sure the pineapple was everywhere.

Dunmore pineappleSurely the height of this pineapple madness was the creation of the Dumbarton Pineapple, by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. Not content with building any old hothouse, the Earl had the stone cupola carved in the shape of a pineapple…because…well that would impress his friends we suppose. There is a reason such structures are called ‘follies’ you know. Read more in depth about such pineries if you would care to.

 

So with all that build up, we hope you will understand a little more about the beautiful pineapple cover on Countless Hues of Crimson.

Now, someone steampunk the pineapple, and we’ll be content!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Doc Coleman January 28, 2016 at 10:28 am

I see this and I keep re-writing the line from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

“But why a pineapple, cousin?”

Doc

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