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While these outdoors meals could possibly be known as picnics there are, based on Levy, reasons not to take action. ‘The English’, he claims, ‘left the hunter’s meal unnamed until after 1806, after they began calling virtually any alfresco meal a picnic’. History reveals us that the concept of a meal that was collectively contributed to and enjoyed out-of-doorways was essential to picnic from the early nineteenth century.
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Cole’s well-dressed younger picnickers having finished their repast, served from splint baskets on blue-and-white china, stroll about within the woodland and boat on the lake. The image of picnics as a peaceable social exercise can be utilized for political protest.
Zapo reminds them that ‘discipline and hand-grenades are what’s wished in war, not visits’ but they ignore him and invite an enemy soldier to hitch of their picnic. After wine and lacklustre conversation they start enthusiastically dancing to the pasodoble to the music of the phonograph they’ve brought with them. Levy recounts ‘The shocked audience sits watching stretcher-bearers take away the bodies, listening to a stuck phonograph needle repeat the pasodoble tune’. From the 1830s, Romantic American landscape paintings of spectacular scenery typically included a gaggle of picnickers within the foreground. An early American illustration of the picnic is Thomas Cole’s The Pic-Nic of 1846 . In it, a guitarist serenades the genteel social group within the Hudson River Valley with the Catskills seen within the distance.
In this context, a picnic features as a temporary occupation of significant public territory. In 1802, a fashionable group of over 200 aristocratic Londoners fashioned the Pic Nic Society.
The members had been Francophiles, or may have been French, who flaunted their love for all issues French when the wars with France lulled between 1801 and 1830. Food historian Polly Russell nonetheless suggests that the Pic Nic Society lasted till 1850. The group’s intent was to supply theatrical entertainments and lavish meals followed by gambling. There was no kitchen so all meals needed to be made elsewhere. Each member was expected to supply a share of the leisure and of the refreshments, with no one explicit host. The French Revolution popularized the picnic internationally. French aristocrats fled to other Western countries, bringing their picnicking traditions with them.