- Museum number
Pineapple, from an album of 91 drawings entitled 'Merian's Drawings of Surinam Insects &c'; with examples of a caterpillar, chrysalises, two butterflies and a beetle, depicting the life cycles of the insects
Watercolour and bodycolour, touched with bodycolour, and heightened with white, on vellum
- Production date
- 1701-1705 (circa)
Height: 415 millimetres
Width: 279 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Entry from J.Harvey's commentary to the Folio Society facsimile of the Surinam Album (London, 2006):
'This watercolour of the ripe pineapple accompanies the previous illustration. By the end of the 17th century some limited success had been achieved in cultivating the pineapple in hothouses near Leyden in the Netherlands, but it remained an expensive delicacy for a select few.
In Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium Merian explained how the fruit should be prepared “ [it] must be peeled; the skin is as thick as a finger, if it is not peeled enough, sharp hairs remain on the flesh which prick one’s tongue while eating and cause great pain”. She also attempts to describe the taste as “though one had mixed grapes, apricots, red currants, apples and pears and were able to taste them at once”.
The attractive butterfly shown in various stages of development is Philaethria dido (Linnaeus).'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Transferred to P&D 11 March 1885 (see note on fly-leaf of album SL,5275.1-91). Transferred from the Department of Manuscripts.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: N,01.2