The Pic-Nic Orchestra

Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) after James Gillray (1757-1815), The Pic-Nic Orchestra, ca.1802. Pen and ink drawing, watercolor. Transferred to graphic arts division (GAX) 2008- in process

The Pic-Nic Society was an exclusive London club, under the leadership of Lady Albina Buckinghamshire (seen here at the piano). They performed fashionable amusements for private aristocratic audiences, which were mercilessly attacked by the newspaper critics and journalists. The British caricaturist James Gillray printed at least three satires of the group, including the design seen here. The sheet owned by Princeton is attributed to Edward Francis Burney, completed after the Gilray hand-colored print was published by Hannah Humphrey on 23 April 1802 from her St. James’s Street print shop.

Also taking part in the performance is Colonel Henry Francis Greville, playing a fiddle. Note the paper hanging from his coat pocket. In the final print, words were added: “Pic Nic Concert—Imitations—Nightingale by Lord C.—Tom Tit Lord ME—Jack daw Gent G.—Screech Owl Lady B—Poll Parrot…” Perhaps the words were too small for Burney to duplicate with the brush.

On the left is Lord Mount (Richard) Edgcumbe playing a cello and behind him is Lord George James Cholmondeley on the flute. Seated on the pianist’s left is Lady Salisbury (Mary Amelia) playing the French horn with one hand. To the extreme right, opposite Greville, is an unidentified lady’s arm holding a trumpet.


Thomas Wright (1810-1877), Historical and descriptive account of the caricatures of James Gillray: comprising a political and humorous history of the latter part of the reign of George the Third (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1851.) Rare Books (Ex) NE642.G42 W9

Draper Hill, Mr. Gillray the caricaturist, a biography (Greenwich, Conn., Phaidon Publishers, [1965]) Firestone Library (F) NE642.G42 H5

James Gillray (1756-1815), The works of James Gillray, the caricaturist: with the story of his life and times (London: Chatto and Windus, [1873]) Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Rowlandson 989.2