The concept of a picnic – that is, to quote the OED, "a pleasure party including an excursion to some spot in the country where all partake of a repast out of doors" – dates to medieval hunting feasts. But it was the Victorians who elevated al fresco dining to an art form, packing elaborate spreads and hauling them out to the garden on lazy summer afternoons. With the arrival of the automobile, these breezy banquets took to the road, and because serious picnicking was something of an aristocratic diversion, the Spirit of Ecstasy was a frequent attendee. It's something that has not escaped the modern Rolls-Royce, which offers among its many bespoke extras a picnic hamper of rather extraordinary specification.
The hamper – made of teakwood, aluminium and saddle leather – was created for the similarly constructed Phantom Drophead Coupé, but Rolls-Royce quickly ascertained that its beautiful box, which had taken more than a year to design and prototype, would fit neatly within the boot of any Rolls-Royce model. It is available off the shelf for impulse buyers or made to order for the bespoke-minded. As picnic hampers go, it is outlandishly expensive – a personalised example will command BMW 3 Series money – but considering it is made to fit in the boot of a $480,000 automobile (a car whose base price can double with the addition of optional niceties and personalised tidbits), the cost seems altogether appropriate.
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