Celebrating Jamaican heritage
Pewter was the material of choice for domestic utensils in 17th-century England and her early colonies. Sadware (flatware), such as plates, were made from a single cast and hammered to form the rim, well and the curved section between the rim and the well.
Spoon-making was quite a simple process compared to other pewter products and was often left to blind and elderly craftsmen. The most noted pewter craftsman in Jamaica was Symon Benning, who began working in Jamaica in the 1660s. He adopted the pineapple along with his initials S.B. as his markers mark.
Did you know?
The pineapple is endemic to Jamaica. Its use on Symon Benning's pewter dishes shows its historic association with Jamaica. Considered an exotic, exquisite natural marvel, the pineapple was treated as a delicacy in Europe. Not only was it a symbol of Jamaica and the wealth the island brought to England, the image became synonymous with elegance and royalty.
- Information compiled by Sharifa Balfour, assistant curator, National Museum Jamaica.