Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Kluge Picnic Hamper And Others For the Rest Of Us

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Yesterday as I was researching this post,  I noticed Emily Evans Eerdman had just come out with a post on Christy's auction of the contents of Albemarle House, Patricia Kluge's estate in Virginia.  As I looked into it some more, I realized that after the Kluge divorce, John Kluge remarried and built another house nearby, Molvern, whose contents had been auctioned, also by Christy's, in 2005.  This incredible picnic hamper which had caught my attention and was to be the piece de resistance of this post, was part of that auction.  To read more, click article from the NYT which appeared in December 2005.

Commissioned in the 1980's by the Kluges from the London firm of Asprey, jewellers and silversmith to the British Royal Family, this picnic hamper is undoubtedly  the pinnacle of sophistication. Containing a full service of just about everything imaginable for a party of sixteen, the hamper can be towed to the perfect picnic location by hooking it to the back of a tractor. The wicker trailer holds about 15 wicker cases, each fitted with brass handles and leather straps, with battery-powered hot and cold boxes and a water pump, cases for Bernardaud Limoges china, Baccarat crystal, Asprey silver cutlery, a staghorn bar service, two folding mahogany tables and 16 chairs, each with the monogram "K." The set was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 and sold for a whopping $144,000.

Although day-trippers have used wicker carryalls since the 1700s, the true picnic basket was born in 1901, when British luxury-goods retailers like Asprey started stocking hampers filled with tableware for motorists to enjoy on country drives. While modern options start at about $80, this four-person set from 1908 — made by travel outfitter G.W. Scott & Sons, and complete with copper kettle and burner — recently sold at auction for $3,500.

If you can forget for a minute the Kluge picnic hamper and concentrate on reality, here are some pretty and practical hampers.  I know its hard, just try...

Faux-leather trim and a plaid lining give Sutherland Baskets' two-setting case western flavor. ($54.99;

Optima fills its handmade cases with vintage china, glassware, and embroidered linens for two. ($350;

The Bargain Picnic Basket

Simple mugs say brunch; a corkscrew means this set can handle cocktail hour for four, too. ($43.99;

There's always the metro picnic basket which you can initial to add a touch of chic!

For more on picnics and getting organized click here


  1. I so cherish my picnic hamper that G got me in the '70s at Jarrods, gosh I have used it so much through the years. It makes me happy to see it on the shelf and thrilled to fill it and take it out to the concerts in the park- your review..thanks @missbusybiz

  2. Wonder how many times they used it!

  3. Woven basket with handle are those baskets which are made up of wood splints or cane. These baskets were used by our ancestors and are famous till now be of their wreathed style.


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