Edward Hicks (American, 17801849)
Oil on canvas; 17 7/8 x 23 7/8 in. (45.4 x 60.6 cm)
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1970 (1970.283.1)
Edward Hicks, a Quaker preacher and sign painter, painted approximately sixty versions of the Peaceable Kingdom. The painting represents the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:6: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." The presence of additional animals and children on the left is due to Hicks' inclusion of the seventh and eighth verses. Hicks derived the composition, a popular nineteenth-century Bible illustration, from an engraving after a drawing by the English artist Richard Westall. The theme of a peaceable community of animals was one often used as a political metaphor, and was adapted by Hicks himself. The artist sometimes included scenes of Penn's treaty with the Indians, intending Penn's flock to stand as a sort of partial fulfillment of the biblical prophecy.