Louis Le Brocquy’s A Picnic (1940)

Anne Madden, Louis Le Brocquy’s second wife, remembers only that his A Picnic model was a friend. Perhaps, she didn’t recall or know that the woman in black and white  (besides the umbrella) is Le Brocquy’s first wife, Jane Stoney. (She’s the same woman with the same...
Jack London’s Martin Eden (1908)

Jack London’s Martin Eden (1908)

Picnics in Jack London’s Martin Eden contrast social disparities between the poor working and genteel upper classes. London’s Martin Eden alludes to Horatio Alger Jr.’s heroes who rise in society through hard work and education. But London disparages Alger’s optimism....
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel  (1945)  

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carousel (1945)  

Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s joyous clambake is among the significant changes to Ferenc Molnár’s bleak Liliom. It’s a setup for the unhappiness that follows when Billy Bigelow botches a robbery and dies, leaving his beloved Julie Jordan pregnant and alone....
Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics (1920s)

Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics (1920s)

While serving, Bell was a spy. Often Bell’s dual roles as Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner in Baghdad indistinguishable. Once using picnics as a mask, she and her companions took an official to a lonely beach for an interrogation. She and her...
Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out (1915)

Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out (1915)

Woolf’s picnic on the summit of Monte Rosa, a fictional place in South America, is the high point (pun intended) of The Voyage Out (1915). Journeying on donkeys walking in a single file, the narrator creates the image of “a jointed caterpillar, tufted with the white...
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck’s Picnic (1939)

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck’s Picnic (1939)

At first, Donald Duck’s beach picnic is a pleasant outing. Donald and Pluto set up on the beach for a perfect day. Donald plants an umbrella for shade and spreads a blanket for food. Expectations are high. It doesn’t last, as usual. The picnic turmoil is classic....
Ford Motors’ Touring Car Picnic in Advertisement (1924)

Ford Motors’ Touring Car Picnic in Advertisement (1924)

Twentieth Century motoring greatly expanded opportunities for picnicking by allowing anyone to enjoy the freedom of the road. Fords were ubiquitous cars, and in this advertisement, they reinforced their dominance by claiming, “Wherever you live—in town or...
Paul Sample’s Church Supper  (1933)

Paul Sample’s Church Supper (1933)

This dour and static dinner on the grounds is Paul Sample’s Church Super. His take on his wife Sylvia’s hometown in Westmore, Vermont. At a glance, the supper is ordinary, but many details tell otherwise. Though the minister is calling the picnickers for grace, many...
Katherine Mansfield’s “A Pic-Nic” (1919)

Katherine Mansfield’s “A Pic-Nic” (1919)

Mansfield was in Bandol, a sea resort in the south of France, where she hoped to regain health and equanimity. However, her time there was unhappy, exemplified by “Pic-Nic,” a  poem hinting that her state of mind was no picnic. Perhaps because it was too dark, she...
Frederick Henry Townsend’s Zeppelin Picnic (1915)

Frederick Henry Townsend’s Zeppelin Picnic (1915)

Even after zeppelin attacks on London in May and June, Brits are undeterred and cannot refrain from picnicking even under threat of being gassed. Acid satire by F.H. Townsend. Featured Image: Even under threat of attack, Upper-class Brits cannot refrain from...