Oliver Cromwell’s Unlucky Picnic in Hyde Park

Oliver Cromwell’s Unlucky Picnic in Hyde Park

Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, “picnicked” in Hyde Park in 1654. According to Cromwell’s secretary of state Edmund Ludlow, “His highness, only accompanied with secretary Thurloe and some few of his gentlemen and servants, went to take the air in...
Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “frolique” is our picnic was a favorite way for him to spend an afternoon with friends idling. We know this from his Diary, a frank glimpse of his personal and professional lives, begun when he was thirty-seven, and continued for the next decade. Among...
Crispijn de Passe’s Picnic in New Mirror for Youth

Crispijn de Passe’s Picnic in New Mirror for Youth

As early as the 16th century, the Dutch had no specific word for what is the equivalent of our picnic, but they were adept at alfresco entertaining. It’s evident in their paintings and in so-called emblem books, primers or handbooks, meant to instruct youthful...
Passari’s Lovers in a Garden

Passari’s Lovers in a Garden

Giovanni Baptista Pesseri’s A Party Feasting in a Garden seems a happy end to an alfresco luncheon. Young couples are deep in conversation flirting and courting, which suggests that this is a garden of love. It casual and innocent, though Pessari is a moralist, and...
Jan Miel’s La Merienda

Jan Miel’s La Merienda

Jan Miel’s tired hunters halt on the hunt by a rustic inn. They are clustered around a cloth on the ground organizing a meal of sliced ham, cheese, bread, and wine. A century later, Jean-Antoine Watteau’s and followers’ repas de chasse are...
Picnicky Situations in Thomas Trevelyon’s  Miscellany

Picnicky Situations in Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany

Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany is a meticulously illustrated compendium of 1608. It’s stocked with a calendar, scenes from the Bible, current events, chief court and political figures, costumes, fabric designs, games, dances and more. It’s among the marvels of...
Carracci’s Bathers, circa 1616

Carracci’s Bathers, circa 1616

Though it is unmistakably beach picnic  and might have been called a merienda, Antonio Carracci settles for Landscape with Bathers (1616c.). It’s a tumultuous scene with barren jutting rocks, but Carracci’s focus is a serene woman dressed in red sitting on a white...
Gilles Ménage’s pique-nique in Paris, 1694

Gilles Ménage’s pique-nique in Paris, 1694

Gilles Ménage is the second author to publish the word pique-nique in 1694. The first pique-nique is the nickname of an unidentified man recorded 1649 in an anonymous verse satire The Durable Friendship of the Brothers of Bacchic Picnic [Les Charmans effects des...