Peace by William Strutt

I had a great idea for a blog today, to blog about one of my favorite paintings, Watson and The Shark, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art. I remember first seeing the painting when I was a child and never forgetting it.

Turns out, though, I wrote that blog already. See it here!

So I thought I would write about another favorite painting, one later than the Regency, dated 1896.

This painting is called Peace by William Strutt, an English history painter who studied in Paris but moved to Australia and lived and painted there from 1850 to 1862. He moved back to England but continued to paint images of Australia. He also painted religious art, like this one.

Peace depicts a biblical verse:

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.
The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Isaiah 11:6-7

An 1896 print of this painting has been with me all my life. In my childhood it was in an old wooden frame painted gold. My mother had the print reframed and, sadly, replaced what might have been the original frame. What is worse, the reframing nearly destroyed the print. My friend Tony Wallace (to whom Justine and The Noble Viscount in The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor is dedicated) arranged to have the print professionally restored. The print safely hangs in my living room now. It is the first item I point out to new visitors.

I love the images of the animals and the child. The print always made me feel hopeful, even when I was little, because every creature was co-existing in peace with the other. The lion and the wolf were no longer scary. The leopard was curled up exactly like my pet cat, Snoopy.

The painting’s message is such a lovely one–We can all live together in peace no matter what our differences.

Do you have some family heirlooms that hold a special meaning for you? Tell us!

Don’t forget to visit me at Diane’s blog on Thursday when I’ll give away another signed copy of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady. I’ll announce last week’s winner there tomorrow.

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About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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Jane Austen
12 years ago

I have a painting that my grandparents bought on a trip to France. When I had come home from the UK I wanted to decorate my room like Paris because I had a magical night there (I know this is a risky blog, but it consisted of a sunset picnic with three friends as we played the “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring…..” game. The all of a sudden the Arch d’Triumph lit up, then the Louvre, then the Eiffel Tower….It was AMAZING!) So my aunt framed this painting of the Arc d’Triumph that my grandparents bought.

I recently bought what I hope will become my own family heirloom to pass down….which can be seen if you copy and paste this link:

I love the idea of recruiting a new Alice to enjoy Wonderland. I just think it’s a beautiful idea probably because I loved to read so much as a kid and this little girl looks like me a little. I think it’s beautiful even though people mock me for liking it.

12 years ago

Oh yes, I do–my family tends to hang on to all sorts of things through the generations.

I have my grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine in the original iron and wood stand, though the machine itself was fitted with a motor some years ago.

I also have two carved-oak bookcases from the late 1800s that, family legend has, belonged to the family of General Obregón (president of Mexico after the Revolution, assassinated in 1928)

And books… My maternal grandfather owned a couple of first editions that my mother gave to me–being the baby of the family and the only one living away.


The memories are both poignant and sweet–thank you, Ms Gaston!

Susanna Fraser
12 years ago

My most prized family heirlooms are quilts. I have six, four that were made by my mother and two that were pieced by my paternal grandmother and quilted by my mother, plus a crocheted bedspread my grandmother made for me shortly after I was born. I was born on her birthday and was the youngest of her 17 grandchildren by about 5 years.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

I love the “Recruiting a New Alice” print, Jane Austen. I can see that being passed down. And I love your Paris story. Sometimes the best memories are simple ones..and your simple game ended with spectacular beauty.

azteclady, your heirlooms do indeed sound like treasures. I’m especially impressed by the bookcases!

Susanna, quilts are great “special” heirlooms. They are so personal, having been made by hand by one’s ancestors, and, of course, they were made to give warmth and comfort to loved ones.

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I do love that painting, O Divine One, but then you knew I would! I have a huge tatted bedspread that my Great Aunt Icie made. I inherited by virtue of the fact I am the only member of the family who could repair it after Aunt Icie died. It is an incredible work of art. I also have three of the porcelain dolls she painted and dressed. Each of us kids has a quilt made by our great, great, great grandmother. Each one is a tied quilt, a form of quilting not many people know.

Of course my prized possession is my first edition Byron. My niece and nephews argue all the time about who will get it when I go.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Lots of special treasures, Louisa, and I know that Byron tops the list!

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Great post, Diane! I love hearing people’s favorite works of art and what those works mean to them, how they’ve had a personal impact on someone’s life. I’m also very sentimental and love to hear what heirloom people treasure!

I just got one lovely thing I’m so excited about. A favorite artist of mine who lives in Santa Fe (you can see her website here– had a small Impressionistic painting of the Eiffel Tower last time I went in, and I had to buy it. I collect all sorts of Eiffel Tower items, to make my home feel more “Paris-y,” and like Jane Austen this painting reminded me a specific moment of sitting in the grass on the Champ de Mars with a plastic goblet of champagne. I watched people bike and run past, walking their dogs, kissing, the sun setting, and then suddenly the Tower sprang into sparkling light and it was magical.

I also have the lace collar from my grandmother’s wedding suit (all that she saved of the outfit) and my other grandmother’s wedding ring. I love them so much for all they remind me about.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

What lovely work that artist does, Amanda! Just beautiful.

11 years ago

Thanks, Diane for your story about the Peace painting. I’ve been meditating on it with regards to our getting along with ourselves. I’m seeing that we have all those animals inside our inner kingdom and they can be tamed!

My last three blogs have been taking me to revisit what I call the Kingdom Child (Jesus’ style inner child—except you become as a little child…). And “Peace” is the picture I used with my last post just two days ago at
John Parker.

I found your blog as I am still searching about the peace painting! Thanks!

10 years ago

I am blessed to have many heirlooms but the most beautiful by far is a button picture by my mother. She used clear glass buttons for the vase and many colorful buttons, including rhinestones, cellulite, citrine, and other semi precious stone buttons as the flowers. It has been appraised in the thousands of dollars but is priceless to me.

Leslie Giffin
Leslie Giffin
9 years ago

I have that same print. It’s in shades of browns and is
a little worn with the original frame. Any idea what it’s worth?