Maurice Baring’s Caligula’s Picnic (1911)

Maurice Baring’s Caligula’s Picnic (1911)

Before the picnic breaks up and all the guests are drowned in the Bay of Naples, peacock and eels are served. Baring’s sense of humor is satirical and macabre. Here is one of his jokes in Caligula’s Picnic, a one-act closet drama: Proteus: I once knew a...

Thomas Rowlandson’s Hunt the Slipper, Pic-Nic Revels (1802)

Rowlandson’s Hunt the Slipper, Pic-Nic Revels satirizes the Pic-Nics, a society of Dilettanti  (amateur actors),  gamblers, and gourmands who briefly flourished 1802-3. The rules of the Society are framed on the wall: Ici on boit, on danse, on rit! Et quelquefois on...
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...
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...
Martin Amis’ Dead Babies (1975)

Martin Amis’ Dead Babies (1975)

Appleseed Rectory in Amis’ Dead Babies alludes to Lindsay’s Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock. Like Lindsay’s picnic, Amis’ is a disaster. Though none of his Appleseeders dies, they are as the title suggests figuratively “dead babies.” The...
Laura Knight’s Picnics (1907-1912)

Laura Knight’s Picnics (1907-1912)

Knight developed her style while at the Lamorna Art Colony in west Cornwall.  She was nineteen years old and married to Harold Knight. Among more experienced artists and in congenial surroundings, she realized the freedom of expression and technique throughout her...
Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics (1920s)

Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics (1920s)

While serving, Bell was a spy. Often Bell’s dual roles as Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner in Baghdad indistinguishable. Once using picnics as a mask, she and her companions took an official to a lonely beach for an interrogation. She and her...

John Leech’s Awful Appearance of Wopps at a Picnic (1849)

Knowing that any picnic might dissolve in chaos when attacked by a flying critter, readers of Punch, Britain’s premier satirical magazine, laughed at Leech’s mock tragedy. They might have also smiled patronizingly at the verbal pun “wopps,” the Cockney pronunciation...