Oliver Cromwell’s Picnic in Hyde Park (1654)

Oliver Cromwell’s Picnic in Hyde Park (1654)

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’ Diary 1664 & 1667

Samuel Pepys’ Diary 1664 & 1667

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 (1617)

Crispijn de Passe’s Picnic in New Mirror for Youth (1617)

As early as the 16th century, the Dutch had no specific word for 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 aristocrats in the ways of the...
Giovanni Passeri’s  A Party Feasting (1645c.)

Giovanni Passeri’s A Party Feasting (1645c.)

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 (1650s)

Jan Miel’s La Merienda (1650s)

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 exclusively...
Pique-Nique1649

Pique-Nique1649

The word pique-nique appeared in a satirical pamphlet in 1649 used as a nickname for a soldier turned glutton. His exploits and those of his compatriots are satirized in The Durable Friendship of the Brothers of Bacchic Picnic [Les Charmans effects des barricades, où...
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...