Cambridgeshire

Cambridge: Giant pineapple heralds Cambridge Fitzwilliam food history celebration

Pineapple sculpture
Image caption The pineapple lights up at night

A giant golden pineapple has appeared in front of a city centre museum.

The four-metre (13ft) fruit is outside Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum ahead of an exhibition celebrating the history of food and marking 300 years since the fruit was cultivated in the UK.

Pineapples are at the heart of a crop of other art-related sustenance chronicling our relationship with food.

It is hoped the colossal creation will spike interest in the Feast and Fast exhibition, which opens next week.

About 300 objects dating from 1500 to 1800 from across Europe are on display.

Early English cookbooks sit alongside Renaissance silver tableware from Cambridge University colleges, glassware and porcelain.

Three elaborate table settings, including a Baroque feast featuring a pie topped with a model of a swan and another with a peacock, have been created by food historian Ivan Day,

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption A recreated Baroque feast dating from about 1650 features in the exhibition

However, the pineapple - a fruit first grown commercially in the UK 300 years ago - is at the core of the exhibition.

It was "an essential motif" of the display, the museum said.

It has previously referred to "pineapple mania" taking over the country from the 1720s, when the fruit was "the symbol of luxury".

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum
Image caption The pineapple was created for the exhibition by designers Bompas & Parr

The Fitzwilliam founder's grandfather Matthew Decker grew the first commercially-viable crop at that time.

The giant pineapple sculpture is beginning to turn heads in the city, with one person commenting on social media: "All hail the giant pineapple. Our new overlord."

Image caption A pineapple teapot is one of a number of fruit-related items on show

Museum director Luke Syson said he hoped the exhibition would "stimulate visitors to think more about how we consider and engage with food now".

Feast and Fast: The art of food in Europe, 1500-1800 opens at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on 26 November and runs until 26 April.

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