Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ball Refreshments Served à la Pic Nic, Antwerp, February 1842

Carl Spitzweg The Picnic, 1864

Here's our English friend, describing another ball in Antwerp.
A ball to-night. Things of this sort, in a town like Antwerp, obtain a certain brilliancy and success that cannot be commanded in an ordinary English drawing-room. The continental city has at hand, perhaps a governor, and one or two generals, a garrison, a resident noblesse, and various consuls and functionaries, who all freely bring their titles, dignities, uniforms, and decorations, into the domestic society of the place, shining with a certain moral and physical aristocratic splendour of effect, among the plain gentlemen and ladies, the starless and crossless black coats, and the velvet and white satin gowns.

The supper was managed by bringing into the dancing-room a number of small tables and benches, the ladies sitting down round the walls, and the gentlemen helping them to dishes of all sorts of portable and pic nic viands, as sandwiches, pates, and cakes: one of the tables was covered with glasses and wines, which were served out in the same way.
(Anon., Antwerp; A Journal kept There. London: John Ollivier, 1847. p. 165-166.)

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