Alli Sharma, Botanical Cabinet, 2013, oil and acrylic on board 20x15cm
The Tudor era saw a great expansion in trade routes and exotic foreign ingredients, including pineapples, were brought to England during this time. Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493. However, despite the efforts of European gardeners, it was nearly two centuries before they were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a pineapple plant and hence it became a symbol of wealth and hospitality. Glasshouses were rare due to the expense of making glass, yet the mania for growing pineapples and displaying them at the dinner table became a fashion requisite of 18th century nobility. The inevitable demise of the pineapple as horticultural status symbol began with the arrival of imported fruit at the end of the 19th century.
Interested in identity, aspiration and class, one of Sharma’s playful paintings of Del Monte Gold is encased for display in the Tudor Great Hall. The title Botanical Cabinet refers to Conrad Loddiges’ publication of 'coloured delineations of plants from all countries', printed in England from 1818 to 1821.
Alli Sharma has a BA Fine Art, Central St Martins College of Art, London, 2007. Recent exhibitions include Painting Past and Present: A Painter’s Craft, Laing Art Gallery & Museum, Newcastle, 2013; The Dream Machine, Sluice Art Fair, London, 2013; Ornament, huntergather, London, 2013; Masque, Galerie d’YS, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, 2013; I Love You Because, A-side B-side Gallery, London, 2013; Duplicity, Transition Gallery, London, 2013