Lambert’s Box Hill Picnics

Lambert’s Box Hill Picnics

Even if George Lambert knew the French word pique-nique, he would not use to describe an outing on the grass because it was not used in this context. By French custom it was an indoor meal. Moreover, there is no evidence the English used pique-nique in writing or...
Meléndez’ La Merienda

Meléndez’ La Merienda

Luis Egidio Meléndez’ The Afternoon Meal (1771c.)  is a wonderful example of his skill at painting still life, especially of food. The original title La Merienda], indicates that this is suggests an afternoon snack, which the Spanish sometimes refer to as a...
Rowlandson’s Pleasant Outing, circa 1790

Rowlandson’s Pleasant Outing, circa 1790

When Lord Chesterfield used the word “picnic,” he understood that it was an indoor salon gathering. There was no English word for an alfresco luncheon, as we know them now. So when Thomas Rowlandson included an alfresco luncheon among his catalog of everyday life...
Lord Chesterfield’s “pic-nic” in Leipzig, 1748

Lord Chesterfield’s “pic-nic” in Leipzig, 1748

Unknown in English until 1748, the word picnic appears in a private letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son Philip who was living in Leipzig. They communicated regularly by letter but only Chesterfield’s were published in 1774–and no one noticed....
Van Loo’s Halte de chasse

Van Loo’s Halte de chasse

As usual among the French, a halt on the hunt is never referred to as a picnic, although that is exactly what it is. Carle Andre Van Loo’s Halte de chasse is a narrative of a stop during the hunt, at which the ladies meet the hunters at a predetermined place,...
Rousseau’s festin is a euphemism for a picnic

Rousseau’s festin is a euphemism for a picnic

A festin is a euphemism for a picnic. It’s used by Rousseau in Emile, his best-known novel, to describe a leisurely, affable, and convivial gathering that is a picnic by today’s standard. Rousseau writes that instead of the dining room, “The turf will be our chairs...