Friday 4 April 2014


It's time for a painting - and this is one of many versions of the same subject, The Peaceable Kingdom, painted by the Quaker minister, failed farmer and fairly successful decorative painter Edward Hicks, who as it happens was born on this day in 1780, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The image, inspired by passages in Isaiah, takes me back (not necessarily in a good way), because in my student days I used to have a large colour print of it pinned to the wall of my room. I'm not quite sure why I bought it, but I guess it does exude a sense of calm, peace and wellbeing that was not always conspicuously present in my life at the time. As a painting, it's a pretty crude piece of work - you can tell Hicks made his living from painting tavern signs and carriages - but it has a deal of sweetness, warmth and charm. My print was with me for some while, until it became so tatty and torn it had to be thrown away.

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