The Peaceable Kingdom - Edward Hicks - Framed Picture 16" x 12"
Edward Hicks was an American folk painter and distinguished religious minister of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He became a Quaker icon because of his paintings.
Aged thirteen, Hicks began an apprenticeship to coach makers William and Henry Tomlinson. He stayed with them for seven years, during which he earned the craft of coach painting. In 1800 he left the Tomlinson firm to earn his living independently as a house and coach painter, and in 1801 he moved to Milford to work for Joshua C. Canby, a coach maker.
Dissatisfied with his life, he started to attend Quaker meetings regularly, and in 1803 he was accepted for membership in the Society of Friends. By 1813 he began traveling throughout Philadelphia as a Quaker preacher. To meet the expenses of traveling, and for the support of his growing family, Hicks decided to expand his trade to painting household objects and farm equipment as well as tavern signs. His painting trade was lucrative, but it upset some in the Quaker community, because it contradicted the plain customs they respected.
In 1815 Hicks briefly gave up ornamental painting and attempted to support his family by farming, while also continuing with the plain, utilitarian type of painting that his Quaker neighbors thought acceptable. His financial difficulties only increased, as utilitarian painting was less remunerative, and Hicks did not have the experience he needed to cultivate the land, or run a farm primarily on his own.
By 1816, his wife was expecting a fifth child. After a relative of Hicks, at the urging of Hicks' close friend John Comly, talked to him about painting again, Hicks resumed decorative painting. This friendly suggestion saved Hicks from financial disaster, and preserved his livelihood not as a Quaker Minister but as a Quaker artist.
Around 1820, Hicks made the first of his many paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom. Hicks' easel paintings were often made for family and friends, not for sale, and decorative painting remained his main source of income.
In 1827 a schism formed within the Religious Society of Friends, between Hicksites (named after Edward Hicks' cousin Elias Hicks) and Orthodox Friends. As new settlers swelled Pennsylvania's Quaker community, many branched off into sects whose differences sometimes conflicted with one another, which greatly discouraged Edward Hicks from continuing to preach. Nonetheless, in his lifetime Hicks was better known as a minister than as a painter.
Quaker beliefs prohibited a lavish life or having excessive quantities of objects or materials. Unable to maintain his work as a preacher and painter at the same time, Hicks transitioned into a life of painting, and he used his canvases to convey his beliefs. He was unconfined by rules of his congregation, and able to freely express what religion could not: the human conception of faith.
Although it is not considered a religious image, Hicks' Peaceable Kingdom exemplifies Quaker ideals. Hicks painted 62 versions of this composition. The animals and children are taken from Isaiah 11:6–8 (also echoed in Isaiah 65:25), including the lion eating straw with the ox.
Hicks used his paintings as a way to define his central interest, which was the quest for a redeemed soul. This theme was also from one of his theological beliefs.