Pineapple Silk Damask
This design features a stylised pineapple fruit and leaves. The pineapple was brought back as an exotic oddity from South America in the early 16th century by the first European explorers. By the mid 17th century Europeans had learned how to propagate and grow the fruit but it was very expensive to do so and thus consumption was limited to royalty and very wealthiest nobles. A gift of a pineapple was a generous and expensive gesture leading the fruit to become synonymous with the provision of ample hospitality after which it started to appear in all sorts of architectural and surface design applications. de Gournay’s Pineapple design has a massive 1040 mm (41”) vertical repeat in keeping with the very grandest period designs. The fabric width is 995 mm (39 3/16”) and the design repeats laterally twice in this distance. This constraint on the repeat width is a relic of the hand shuttle looms upon which most 18th century damasks were woven. In these the fabric width was limited to the working span of the operator’s arms where the shuttle had to be passed manually between the warp threads.