The Dunmore Pineapple is a folly said to "rank as the most bizarre building in Scotland."It is situated in Dunmore Park, approximately one kilometre northwest of Airth and the same distance south of Dunmore in the Falkirk council area, Scotland.
A building containing a hothouse was built into this wall in 1761 by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. The hothouse, which was located in the ground floor of the building, was used, among other things, for growing pineapples. The south-facing ground floor, which is now covered in stucco and largely overgrown with vines, was originally covered with glass windowpanes. Additional heat was provided by a furnace-driven heating system that circulated hot air through cavities in the wall construction of the adjoining hothouse buildings. The smoke from the furnace was expelled through four chimneys, cleverly disguised as Grecian urns. The upper floor, which is at ground level when approached from the raised northern lawn, contained two small cottage-like apartments, or "bothies", for the gardeners.
Murray left Scotland after the initial structure had been built, and went on to become Colonial Governor of Virginia in America. The upper-floor pavilion or summerhouse with its pineapple-shaped cupola and the Palladian lower-floor portico on the south side were added after Murrays return from Virginia.
North elevation of the cupola. Note how the pavilion, which is well above ground level when approached from the south, may be entered at ground level from the north.
The building is a mixture of architectural styles. The south (ground floor) entrance takes the form of a characteristically Palladian Serliana archway, incorporating Tuscan columns. Visitors who step through this archway and into the vestibule below the pineapple face an elaborately framed doorway, flanked, on either side, by pairs of painted wooden Ionic columns, carved with great care, which display perfect fluting and even architecturally correct entasis. The keystone of the Serliana arch is inscribed with the date 1761. This has caused some people to speculate that the pineapple was constructed in 1761, although there is no clear evidence that the archway and the pineapple were built at the same time, or even designed by the same architect. Others suggest that the pineapple was constructed after Murray's return from America in 1776.
March 17th, 2018
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