Book of the Month: A Very British Picnic

Book of the Month: A Very British Picnic

14 Jun 2022

This wonderful collection of vintage photographs celebrates the joys of eating al fresco

This lovely little book by independent publishers Hoxton Mini Press brings together an incredible selection of 20th-century photographs that celebrate all things picnic. 

St Ives, Cornwall, 1965. © Getty

Fold-up chairs, Tupperware, flasks and neatly cut sandwiches all make an appearance, whether it be a family day out to the beach in St Ives, or on an urban rooftop. 

England, 1970. © Getty

Though there are a few glamorous shots from Pinewood Studios and Glyndebourne, a distinct Britishness is felt by the anoraks and plastic sheeting employed to keep bad weather at bay, as well as a proliferation of cups and saucers. Proving that even outdoors, a good brew reigns supreme.

Stump Cross, North Yorkshire, 1963. © Alamy

Why we love it

As with every good photo book, the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true. Here, each archive image offers a window into a world now resigned to the past, and the stories they hold reveal themselves without the need for excessive annotation or comment. 

Essentially, each picture reminds us that a picnic is largely a celebration of family, friends and community. Since the pandemic, this simple act of meeting and eating outdoors has garnered even more significance, and this book is a wonderful celebration of that.


A Very British Picnic (Hoxton Mini Press, £17.95)


About the Author

Holly Black

Holly Black is The Arts Society's Digital Editor


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