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...
Pic Nic Society hosts a Balloon Launching (1802)

Pic Nic Society hosts a Balloon Launching (1802)

Among the Pic Nic Society anecdotes is its sponsorship of a balloon launch. In London. In July 1802, the Pic Nics called an ad hoc meeting to watch and cheer Jacques Garnerin’s successful launch of a hot air balloon from Ranelagh Gardens. See: Universal Magazine of...
Pic Nic Society: Gamblers, Actors, and Pic Nic Dinners (1801)

Pic Nic Society: Gamblers, Actors, and Pic Nic Dinners (1801)

The Pic Nic Society attracted obsessive gamblers, eager amateur actors called Dilettanti, and gourmand diners. Taking advantage of a truce in a decade-long war with France (lead by Napoleon, then First Consul), the Pic Nics wagered (and lost) that London might have a...
John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s Picnic Photograph (1855)

John Dillwyn Llewelyn’s Picnic Photograph (1855)

It’s a family affair. And except for their clothing, not much has changed since John Llewelyn snapped his wife Emma and their children on a hillside above Swansea, Wales. According to family lore, Llewelyn photographed his wife Emma each year on her birthday,...

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...
“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

Claude Tavernier’s  “The Picnic Season,” a cover for The Daily Graphic (1873), depicts a picnic excursion up the Hudson River. It’s a narrative that begins as picnickers board a steamer from Jones Wood, a popular commercial picnic ground in northern Manhattan (an area...
Pic Nic Society: Gamblers, Actors, and Pic Nic Dinners (1801)

James Gillray and the Pic Nics (1801-1803)

­Picnic, the phonetic spelling of pique-nique, owes its introduction in English parlance to the Pic Nics, a London club that had a brief run from 1801-1803. We remember Pic Nics now mainly because James Gillray lampooned and mocked them. We remember that this was the...
Lady Elizabeth Craven’s “What is a Pic Nic?” (1803?)

Lady Elizabeth Craven’s “What is a Pic Nic?” (1803?)

From 1780-1820, “Dilettanti” or amateur theater aficionados organized theater groups. Among the most passionate, Louise Craven, Margravine of Ansbach, who wrote plays, produced and acted in them, persuaded her doting husband the Margrave of Ansbach to build her a...
“The Pic-Nic” Song (1871)

“The Pic-Nic” Song (1871)

Corny picnic satire was long in vogue in English music before Gilbert and Sullivan’s Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old premiered in 1871. [Posted elsewhere on PicnicWit.Com] “The Pic-Nic” an 1829 song (sung to the air of “Here’s the Maiden of Bashful Fifteen,” from...
George Cruikshank’s Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees (1826)

George Cruikshank’s Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees (1826)

Round up the usual suspects! Featured Image: George Cruikshank. Pic Nic disturbed by a Swarm of Bees. Aquatint. London: George Humphrey, 1826; http://images.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/oneitem.asp?imageId=lwlpr12922.  A black and white print is the British Museum...