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Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity
Plain Living:
A Quaker Path
to Simplicity

The Quakers
The Quakers

Quaker Cavalier: The Story of William Penn
Quaker Cavalier:
The Story of
William Penn

Edward Hicks, Painter of the Peaceable Kingdom
Edward Hicks,
Painter of the Peaceable Kingdom

English Quaker William Penn, Giclee Print
English Quaker William Penn,
Giclee Print

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Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, Lesson Plan

resources index > lesson plans > PEACEABLE KINGDOM | cooperative games < peace posters

Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks

The wolf did with lambkin dwell in peace
His grim carnivorous nature there did cease

The leopard with the harmless kid laid down
And not one savage beast was seen to frown

The lion with the fatling on did move
A little child was leading them in love;

When the great PENN his famous treaty made
With indian chiefs beneath the Elm-tree's shade.

This is a painting that could be on permanent display in a classroom or library gallery where students could reflect on the image over a period of time and really begin to see all the details that enrich the meanings.

Edward Hicks
b. 4-4-1780; Bucks Co., PA
d. 8-23-1849

Edward Hicks was not well known in his lifetime. He was not trained as an artist- he made his living farming and painting coaches and signs. And though he was raised as a Quaker, and was also a Quaker minister, he was always getting into fights! Hicks painted over seventy versions of the Peaceable Kingdom, perhaps he was working out his feelings by painting the world he wanted. Today the different versions of A Peaceable Kingdom are reproduced in books, calendars and as posters because they are beautiful paintings.

By comparing versions of A Peaceable Kingdom we are able to tell the story of how Hicks was feeling at that time. Some of the Peaceable Kingdom paintings look sadder, or madder, than the 1824 Peaceable Kingdom, but they all tell two stories- one story is in the background and one in the foreground.

In the background Hicks shows William Penn (Pennsylvania means “Penn's Woods”) signing a treaty with the Delaware Indians in 1682; in the foreground Hicks has painted wild and domestic animals, seemingly natural enemies, laying down together in peace.

Can you name the animals? Since Hicks was a farmer in New England, how do you think he knew what a lion looked like?

English Quaker William Penn, Giclee Print
English Quaker
William Penn,
Giclee Print

William Penn, as a Quaker, believed that all people were equal in the eyes of God and he insisted on paying the Indians for their land. You can see Penn standing with his arms out in a peaceful gesture as children are presenting what looks like bolts of cloth to the Indians. Now look at the arms of the child in the foreground- the gesture is repeated as if to say this is also a gift for the future.

The Peaceable Kingdom painting above is from 1824 when Hicks was 44 years old. Look at the poem he included as a border. The poem refers to a prophesy by Isaiah from the Bible.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
   the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
   and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

Can you see how Hicks brought his skills as a sign painter into painting the poem? What words rhyme? What words look like the rhyme but don't sound the same?

How do you feel about a little child leading the way for peace? What are some things you might do to be a peace maker? Remember Hicks painted over seventy versions a Peaceable Kingdom, while making peace isn't easy, it is worthwhile.

For more complete discussion on using A Peaceable Kingdom in your classroom look at Understanding and Creating Art by Goldstein. Also good information on Elements and Principles of Design, Symbols in Art, Forms of Expression.

Noah's Ark, Edward Hicks, Art Print
Noah's Ark
by Edward Hicks,
Art Print

The story of Noah's Ark, (Book of Genesis 6-9) begins with God deciding to flood the Earth and destroy all Life after seeing how his creation, Man, was behaving. God did find one good man, Noah, “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time.” He then commanded Noah to build an ark and bring his wife, their sons and their wives, and a male and female of all the animals and birds, as well as food, to survive the Great Flood. The signal the flood was over was an olive branch brought by a dove. The story is also in the Qur'an.

Noah Alphabet poster

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