American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Edward Hicks, American, 1780–1849

The Peaceable Kingdom and Penn’s Treaty

1845

Oil on canvas

24 1/4 × 31 in. (61.6 × 78.7 cm)
Bequest of Robert W. Carle, B.A. 1897
1965.46.3

The Quaker minister and artist Edward Hicks is best known for his Peaceable Kingdom series. In the paintings, Hicks illustrated Isaiah’s prophecy of God’s kingdom on earth, where “Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats” (Isa. 11:6). As if to suggest the prophecy’s fulfillment in America, Hicks inserts in The Peaceable Kingdom a group of Quaker leaders—including William Penn—who carry a flowing banner inscribed with lines from the book of Luke telling of the coming of the messiah. Setting his Peaceable Kingdom paintings in distinctly American landscapes, Hicks imbues the biblical message of such works with national overtones. Among the sixty-two known versions of the Peaceable Kingdom, the artist repeatedly included the theme of William Penn’s 1682 treaty with the Lenni Lenape tribe. In The Peaceable Kingdom and Penn’s Treaty, Hicks presents his subject in front of the awe-inspiring natural bridge in Virginia, providing an analogy between the Garden of Eden and the American wilderness.

Geography: 
Made in United States
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Bequest of Robert W. Carle, B.A. 1897, great-grandson of Edward Hicks, 1965.

Bibliography: 

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 18, 39–41, no. 10, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.