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HICKS, Rev. Edward [1780-1849] -- American Quaker preacher & painter

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An American painter, he was the leading folk, or naive, artist of the first half of the 1800s.

He was orphaned at an early age and apprenticed to a Quaker coach maker at the age of 13 and later set up his own successful workshop for the painting of signs, clocks, furniture, and other utilitarian items. But painting had the same odious name as music or fancy dress among early Friends who abominated these and all other "vain amusements". Hicks tried unsuccessfully to apply himself to farming, but finally had to return to ornamental painting to extricate himself from his considerable debt -- despite financial help from cousins Isaac and Samuel Hicks (1818).

After becoming a Quaker preacher, he began to paint canvases illustrating scenes from the Scriptures, considering his art a useful, elevating craft rather than an artistic endeavor. His principal subject was the Peaceable Kingdom, illustrating Isa. 11:6: "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." About 40 versions of this work are extant (Brooklyn Museum, Worcester Art Museum, among others). In them, placid groups of cows and sheep are shown together with their natural predators, lions and tigers; children are often included, and the background always includes a scene of the Quaker colonist William Penn making a peace treaty with the Indians.  -30-
 

Selected Works

  • The Peaceable Kingdom (numerous instances)
  • Bookmarks (off-site links)

    Bookmarks:2010-05-31 07:03:10

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