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.
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!