Fontane’s Effi Briest

Fontane’s Effi Briest

Proving that picnics and love are a natural combination, the plot of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest hinges on a beach-picnic love affair. At first, it’s a recreational outing for Effi Briest, her husband, Geert von Innstettin, and a friend, Major von Crampas. But when...
Chesnut’s “Charming Picnic”

Chesnut’s “Charming Picnic”

Thomas Coram’s View Of Mulberry in 1800 looks up to the rear of the house from the vantage point of “the street” so-called because it was lined with slave quarters, of which height houses are visible. Coram’s view suggests “the street” was a matter pride and...
Bonnard’s By the Sea, Under the Pines

Bonnard’s By the Sea, Under the Pines

By the Sea, Under the Pines (1921) is Pierre Bonnard’s picnic of mood and atmosphere not food and drink. It’s situated on the bluff near St. Tropez overlooking the brilliant blue ocean. Around the woman, a man, a child and a recumbent dog, everything is gold, yellow,...
Karl Marx Rides a Donkey on Hampstead Heath

Karl Marx Rides a Donkey on Hampstead Heath

Though unfamiliar now, the Hampstead Heath was once famous for its donkeys. It was a comic sight and Gustave Doré illustrated it for London: A Pilgrimage because it was ludicrous to see fashionably dressed picnickers straddling the donkeys. It was special fun for Karl...
Charles Dickens and Cast of The Frozen Deep

Charles Dickens and Cast of The Frozen Deep

Frederic Ouvry’s invitation to July garden party at his home in Fulham Green, London is he insinuates that guests would gather with two celebrities: Albert Smith popular lecturer of “The Glaciers of Mont Blanc” and Charles Dickens who was producing and acting in The...
Napoleon’s Almonds

Napoleon’s Almonds

Napoleon’s valet said that he was a frugal eater, but after five years of exile on St. Helena, his face was fat and his figure plump. Henry Dodgin’s contemporary sketch of the great man suggests a penguin. But it’s not a caricature, and for sure, this is how Napoleon...
Charles Doyle is Drunk and Picnicking with Fairies

Charles Doyle is Drunk and Picnicking with Fairies

Charles Altamont Doyle’s The Enchanted Picnic (1882) is a sad picnic that is not enchanted. The picnicker, perhaps Doyle himself, having finished four bottles of wine and champagne is pleasantly suffering delirium tremens. Instead of monsters, the picnicker is smiling...
Frith’s The Derby Day

Frith’s The Derby Day

“My first Derby,” William Powell Frith explained, “had no interest for me as a race, but as giving me the opportunity of studying life and character.” Eventually, he set out to recreate it not as an amusement tinged with vulgarity. He peopled it with sordid, if...
Racetrack Satire by Leech

Racetrack Satire by Leech

The London Stock Exchange’s reaction to a current financial panic is the butt of John Leech’s “The Currency Question, or The Exchange Out for a Day.” Picnicking in troubled times, a racectrack, is risible, but then again, Leech implies, buying and selling stocks is a...