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Pineapple Hospitality…Hadley Style!

August 5, 2011

This month, Hadley Pottery has introduced 12 new oval plaques to its collection of warm and whimsical stoneware.  Among the most well-received of these has been the “Welcome” plaque depicting the Hadley pineapple.

 Hadley pineapple welcome plaque

Likely many of the Hadley faithful, steeped in history and all matters hospitality, are well aware of the connection between the pineapple and welcoming hospitality, but I must confess that I was not.  A bit of online research provided some very interesting learning, and will undoubtedly result in a significant influx of pineapple items into my own home…what a great story!

For the uninitiated, it all started in 1493 (NOT 1943 as originally posted, thanks for the catch, Hadley reader!), when Christopher Columbus (wow!) landed on the island now known as Guadaloupe, and he and his sailors found this “new” fruit.  They took their fruity discovery home with them, to a Renaissance Europe that was sorely lacking in sweet foods, including fresh fruit.  The pineapple became popular for its flavor and its rarity, with gardeners and horticulturists actually vying to cultivate one in Europe. 

Fast forward to colonial America, and if you’ve read your share of literature and history from that era, you know that “visiting” was the primary means of both entertainment and communication, which made hospitality, the manner in which guests were received into the home, a central element in colonial life.  Because of its history and (still) rarity, the pineapple symbolized the warmest possible welcome a hostess could offer her guests, as both a creative display piece and as…dessert!    Wealthier hostesses purchased pineapples to display and serve, while the less affluent actually rented pineapples from the grocer in order to create the appearance of a luxe dining experience.  Because only the fastest ships enjoying favorable weather could actually deliver fresh pineapple, serving the fruit actually became a statement about the hostess’ rank and resourcefulness. 

At the same time (and still to a degree today), the pineapple became a popular artistic and architectural motif, finding its way onto the main drive (in the form of carved or molded pineapples on gate posts) and even into the bedroom (visitors were traditionally given a bedroom with pineapple carvings on the bedposts or headboards).

Given all of this, it’s really no surprise that the Hadley Pineapple tableware pattern (part of our Hadley Bold collection) is as popular as it is, given the Hadley collector’s penchant for entertaining, and certainly that the new small oval plaque has taken off as a way to extend a warm welcome to visitors to almost any room in the Hadley home.  Sized at 5.75” x 4.5” , it’s also a great gift idea, whether as a hostess gift, for a housewarming, or a special way to welcome weekend guests in your own home.

Do you use a pineapple motif in your home?  Tell us where and how!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 5, 2011 8:43 pm

    check your dates…I don’t think Columbus landed in 1943

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