At right, beneath gnarled tree, a child with arm about the neck of a lion walks to left. Behind the lion walks a cow, her head resting on the lions back, and lying on the ground on either side of the child are other animals - wolf, lamb, goat, and leapord. The child has on a short garment of white and red which reaches to the knees, the legs are bare. The child is holding flowers in the right hand. At the left in middle distance is an arched stone bridge over a stream wihch flows to left foreground. Beneath the bridge is a group of people standing near slender trees. There are mountains in the far distance viewed through the arch. Some leaves are green others are red. The picture is surrounded by a narrow gold band, and in the borders around it in gold lettering on a tan background is written, (left) "The wolf shall with the lambkin dwell in peace, His grim, carnivrous nature, then shall cease;" (top) "The leopard with the harmless kid lay down, and not one savage beast be seen to frown;" (right) "The lion and the calf shall forward move, a little child shall lead them on in love;" (bottom) "When MAN is moved and led by sov'reign grace, to seek that state of everlasting Peace." In the four corners of the painting are miniature landscapes with a lamb lying down and an eagle above. In each square is written (Top left) "L'Innocence L'Humiliti La Liberti" (Top right) "INNOCENTIA CLEMENTIA LIBERTAS" (bottom right) "AKAKIA ΗΡΑΟΤΕΣ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ" (bottom left) "MEAKNESS INNOCENCE LIBERTY"
Hicks trained as a decorative sign and coach painter and became a Quaker minister. There are sixty-two known versions of Hicks’s Peaceable Kingdom, all of which depict the verses Isaiah 11:6–9 in the Old Testament. Hicks’s images focus on the theme of harmony, uniting biblical and colonial reflections.
Four of the Kingdom paintings, including the Mead’s, represent the Natural Bridge in Virginia. Hicks likely based his depiction of it, like other aspects of his painting, on print reproductions. The landmark symbolized divine greatness—a stone canopy over the supposed peaceful agreement made between William Penn and the Lenni Lenape tribe. Penn was an English Quaker and colonist who sought to establish Pennsylvania as a site of religious freedom, an idea that appealed to Hicks.
Lisa Crossman, 2020
religion; landscapes; genre scenes; Christianity; Quaker; trees; mountains; water; rocks; clouds; children; animals
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