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)

Early in the 16th century, the Dutch had no specific word for that is our picnic’s equivalent. but their paintings and emblem books primers or handbooks for  youthful aristocrats show a keen fondness for alfresco entertainments that are unmistakably Among 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...
La Compagnie De Frères De Bacchique De Pique-Nique (1649)

La Compagnie De Frères De Bacchique De Pique-Nique (1649)

When the lexicographer, Gilles Ménage, listed piquenique as a proper French word in Dictionnaire du Etymologique de la Langue Françoise (1694), he implies that the word means a genteel dining style with the peculiar aspect of each participant paying for his reckoning:...
Thomas Trevelyon’s  Miscellany (1608)

Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany (1608)

Trevelyon’s Miscellany is a meticulously illustrated compendium of 1608. It’s stocked with a calendar, scenes from the Bible, current events, chief court, political figures, costumes, fabric designs, games, dances, etc. It’s among the marvels of bookcraft by a...
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 Dictionnaire Du Etymologique (1694)

Gilles Ménage’s Dictionnaire Du Etymologique (1694)

When audiences laughed at the pedant Vadius in Molière’s The Learned Ladies (1672), those in the know recognized Ménage shouting at a rival, “I defy you in verse, prose, Greek, and Latin.” When audiences laughed at the pedant Vadius in...