Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pineapple Watercolour over graphite, touched with white

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1585-1593
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 259 millimetres
    • Width: 141 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed in black ink: "The Pyne frute ." and in graphite: "41"
  • Curator's comments

    For an introduction to this group of drawings by John White and a list of abbreviations used in the Literature at the end, see curatorial comment for 1906,0509.1.1, the title page inscription to the album.

    The following text is taken from K. Sloan, 'A New World: England's First View of America' (London, BM Publications, 2006), no.41, pp.178-9:
    [NB. If you use any of the text or information below, please acknowledge the source]

    'Ananas comosus' (Linn.) Merrill
    This drawing was with the group of other plants (apart from the mammee) that were in the centre of the album and were badly damaged by water; the offset contains much of the black and reddish brown pigment. The Sloane volume version below is more formulaic but easier to read as it is less sketchy and more carefully finished.

    Native to Peru and Brazil, the plant was being cultivated in the West Indies by the time of Columbus, who may have brought some back to Europe. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was being imported into England so White and Harriot may have already been familiar with what Raleigh was later to describe as ‘the princess of fruits’. Pineapples were highly regarded in the Caribbean, where they were placed in doorways to welcome visitors, a practice translated to Europe in the form of decorative pineapples on doorways and finials of gates. A 1675 painting attributed to Hendrick Danckerts depicts Charles II being presented with two pineapples in 1661 by his gardener James Rose, who had managed to ripen a fruit-bearing plant which had been brought over in a pot.

    There is another version in the Sloane album (SL,5270,24r)

    Lit.: LB 1(43); Quinn, p. 407; ECM 11; PH&DBQ 11(a); PH 11; see Fran Beauman, 'Pineapple, the King of Fruits', London, 2005


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 1(43) bibliographic details
    • Croft-Murray 1960 11 bibliographic details
    • Hulton & Quinn 1964 11(a) bibliographic details
    • Sloan 2007 41 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PI)

  • Exhibition history

    1965 Jan 30-Feb 22, NGC, Washington, John White, no.13
    1965 26 Feb- 14 Mar, NC Mus of Art, Raleigh, John White, no. 13
    1965 17 Mar-5 Apr, NY, Pierpont Morgan Libr, John White, no. 13
    2003 May-Sep, London, National Maritime Museum, 'Elizabeth 1'
    2007 Mar-Jun, BM, 'A New World:...', no.41
    2007/8 Oct-Jan, Raleigh, North Carolina Mus of History, 'A New World:...'
    2008 Mar-Jun, New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, 'A New World:...'
    2008 Jul-Oct, Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, 'A New World:...'

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The provenance given above refers to the moment when the album of drawings connected with John White was purchased by the Department of Manuscripts in what is now the British Library. The album was transferred to the Department of Prints and Drawings in 1906, where it was assigned new register numbers.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Pineapple Watercolour over graphite, touched with white

Pineapple Watercolour over graphite, touched with white

Image description



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