P.H. Newby’s The Picnic at Sakkara (1955)

P.H. Newby’s The Picnic at Sakkara (1955)

Newby’s Picnic At Sakkara is a comic novel set during political and international turmoil in Egypt.   At the time of Newby’s action around 1946-47, the British are still in control of the Suez Canal, the Farouk regime was wobbling, and Egyptian nationalism led by the...
Francisco Goya’s Merienda a orillas del Manzanares (1776)

Francisco Goya’s Merienda a orillas del Manzanares (1776)

Francesco de Goya. Merienda a orillas del Manzanares [Picnic At the Edge of the Manzanares River] (1776) is a tapestry painting intended for the dining room of Prince and Princess of Asturias in the San Lorenzo Palace in Madrid. Goya described the subject as a...

Louis Le Brocquy’s A Picnic (1940)

Anne Madden, Louis Le Brocquy’s second wife, remembers only that his A Picnic model was a friend. Perhaps, she didn’t recall or know that the woman in black and white  (besides the umbrella) is Le Brocquy’s first wife, Jane Stoney. (She’s the same woman with the same...
Jack London’s Martin Eden (1908)

Jack London’s Martin Eden (1908)

Picnics in Jack London’s Martin Eden contrast social disparities between the poor working and genteel upper classes. London’s Martin Eden alludes to Horatio Alger Jr.’s heroes who rise in society through hard work and education. But London disparages Alger’s optimism....
Lennart Anderson’s Idylls (1955-2015)

Lennart Anderson’s Idylls (1955-2015)

Anderson series of Idylls are picnicky, filled with people happily dancing and singing on the grass. He called the first Bacchanal and the other Idylls. In an interview, Anderson referenced Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupté as a modern arcadian idyll but does not...
John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1951)

John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1951)

Bill Masen and Josella Platon have survived the vicious triffids, mutant plants with a taste for human flesh and blood. Exhausted and desperate for safety, they are stranded in a ruined landscape of Southampton. Wistfully, they are waiting to escape to Isle of Wight,...
John Bellamy’s Lovers by the Sea (nd)

John Bellamy’s Lovers by the Sea (nd)

Strange figures and vibrant color. The setting appears to be a sailboat in which a puffin sits beside a bare-breasted woman with a face like a mask. There is a  dog in her lap and a striped tabby at her knee.  Above the funnel (lower right) is the partial face of an...
Carl Haag’s Luncheon at Cairn Lochan (1868)

Carl Haag’s Luncheon at Cairn Lochan (1868)

Victoria wore black even before her beloved Prince Albert died in 1861. Carl Haag’s  Luncheon at Cairn Lochan depicts the royal family picnicking in Scotland. Painted in 1868, Haag based the scene on an episode in 1861, three months before Prince Albert’s death. Haag...
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel  (1945)  

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel (1945)  

Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s joyous clambake is among the significant changes to Ferenc Molnár’s bleak Liliom. It’s a setup for the unhappiness that follows when Billy Bigelow botches a robbery and dies, leaving his beloved Julie Jordan pregnant and alone....
D.H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1922)

D.H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod (1922)

Aaron Sissons, the protagonist of D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod, leaves his wife and three young children to find himself. Something he never does. The “rod” is his flute, which he plays well enough to earn a modest living. It is also a pun on his sexuality and...