Friday 28 August 2009

The Country Picnic

This is an ‘En Route’ tea-making basket produced by Drew & Co of London probably around 1905. (The design number on the little stove shows that it was registered in 1900, and some of the other components were registered a few years earlier). Originally, a device like this was associated with railway travel, and even the horse drawn carriage. But by the Edwardian era, it was increasingly about the relationship between the motor car and the countryside – going for an afternoon jaunt into the country and having a nice cup of tea in a secluded scenic spot before returning to the clamour of the town. It became an enduring tradition, spreading as the century progressed to a wider and wider sector of the urban populace as the price of cars dropped and their availability grew.

By 1912, when this catalogue was produced, Arthur Gamage's department store in London had large motoring and cycle sections, and a big mail order business. The picnic paraphenalia continued to grow in sophistication and ingenuity.

The Morris dealer in Oxford created a country picnic scene in his front window to advertise the 1925 Bullnose. Morris was selling more than 50,000 cars a year by this time and prices of standard models were dropping dramatically.

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