Last night I looked down at my feet, where Sadie was sleeping beneath the desk with the two kittens. The peaceful scene of dogs and cats happily sleeping together, living together, eating out of the same food bowl at the same time, playing together, got me to thinking about the art of Edward Hicks (1780–1849), a Quaker preacher, artist, and sign painter who made his living decorating carriages, furniture, and household items.
Hicks is best known for a succession of paintings depicting the theme of The Peaceable Kingdom, of which he did sixty-one versions. These paintings represent 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.”
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, with predators in repose with their prey, was one often used at the time as a political metaphor, and was adapted by Hicks himself to show the theme of peace.
I have thought of Hicks’ images often as I’ve observed our animals interacting at Estrella Vista and wonder to what degree we are responsible for their happiness. I’ve begun researching this question and have already turned up some fascinating information which I will share with you as I learn more.
In the meantime, enjoy these iconic images which are a reminder of an ideal we are pursuing here.