Wimbledon is the epitome of British sporting events, known for its grandeur. Everyone wants to witness the defining moment where the winner lifts the famous Wimbledon trophy. But wait - why is there a pineapple on the Wimbledon trophy?
Although you may think a strawberry may be more appropriate, it is the golden pineapple that adorns the top of the trophy. The exact reason as to why the pineapple appears atop the coveted trophy remains unclear. However, there are several theories as to why this may be:
- Symbolic of wealth
- Symbolic of hospitality
- Naval significance
The Pineapple is Symbolic of Wealth
One theory is that it dates back to an aspect of Britain’s extremely rich history. The pineapple was an expensive, sought-after commodity only seen at the richest men’s tables. The pineapple was used as a symbol of wealth due to its exoticism, rareness, and novelty. It’s perishability only added to the price tag, costing the equivalent of over £6000 in the height of its popularity in the 17th century. People who couldn’t afford to buy them outright even rented them to carry them around at parties to show off their wealth.
In the 1600s, pineapples were favoured by the wealthy, including the monarchy. Louis XV and Catherine The Great enjoyed indulging in the fruit and since become a symbol of luxury and prosperity. At this time, being gifted a pineapple was seen as a great compliment.
The Wimbledon trophy was potentially decorated with a pineapple as a sign of social status and power.
The Pineapple is a Symbol of Hospitality
Due to its reputation as a fruit of the wealthy, the fruit became popular with artists throughout the 17-1800s. Pineapples were featured in paintings, on plates and napkins, developing a reputation for generosity. The image symbolised how guests were welcome in the homes of the upper class.
Since the creation of the Wimbledon champion’s cup trophy occurred in 1887, this explanation is fairly likely. It is possible that the pineapple was chosen for both theories mentioned so far.
Another theory is that the pineapple owes its placement on the Wimbledon trophy due to British navy captains placing a pineapple on top of their gateposts after returning home from sea. It’s assumed this was done as a sign of hospitality and celebration. It is possible the Wimbledon cup is adorned with a pineapple due to the celebratory association of pineapples during this time.
The Pineapple Trophy at Wimbledon
Although the origins are lost in time, the pineapple on the Wimbledon trophy has become part of its unique charm. The typical association with strawberries is only a recent phenomenon, but its widespread association does cause some confusion when viewers see the pineapple atop the trophy.
However, the pineapple’s symbolism of wealth, prosperity and success seems apt for the annual Wimbledon tournament, which captivated 4.5 million people worldwide. The pineapple, much like becoming the winner, is a rare and expensive phenomenon.
More About The Wimbledon Trophy
The Current Wimbledon trophy is the third award used in the tournaments. Between 1877 and 1883, The Field Cup was previously in use to celebrate the winners, followed by The Challenge Cup (1884-1886). After losing the first two cups to previous winners, it was decided that the trophy would never officially belong to the Wimbledon victor.
Now, The Wimbledon trophy is one of the most renowned trophies in sport. The engraving on the men’s Wimbledon trophy is of significant importance to the winners. Along with winner’s names, they are accompanied with the inscription on the trophy that reads ‘The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World’.
After each successful win, the champion’s name is engraved on the bowl along with the date of their championship win. However, in 2009, there was no more space on the cup to hold the names of winners. To remedy this, champions’ names are engraved on a black plinth as a sign of their success. Champions are also given a replica of the trophy around 75% of the size, bearing the names of former champions of the tournament.
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