The State Museum of Pennsylvania Image of Penn's Treaty
An Image of Peace: The William Penn Treaty

Article Titles

An Image
of Peace


Deeds of Peace

Kanshiaking...
The Elegant Land


Lenape...
The Common People


Brother Onas...
William Penn


Creating an
Image of Peace


Spreading an
Image of Peace


Celebrating an
Image of Peace


Sharing an
Image of Peace


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An Image of Peace: The Penn Treaty Collection
of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin


A Edward Hicks
Edward Hicks (1780-1849)
Penn's Treaty
, c. 1830
Oil, 17 1/4 x 23 1/4
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin
97.175


Within everyone lives a desire for peace. Art collectors Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin found an expression of that quest for harmony amid the brush strokes of a folk art painting.

One day, during the period of the Vietnam war
, I was viewing a painting by Edward Hicks entitled Penn's Treaty. I suddenly realized that this nineteenth-century folk artist's interest in the Treaty legend, and his many versions of that subject, were a significant indication of man's desire for peace. Knowing the painting had been inspired by an eighteenth-century print after Benjamin West's famous painting of 1771, I wondered how many other artists and artisans were inspired by the same subject …

-- Vivian O. Potamkin, 1975

Mr. and Mrs. Potamkin discovered the picture of Penn's Treaty held meaning for other people. Viewing the image of Penn's Treaty you may see a picture of promise, compromise, despair, or devastation. Perhaps you will also discover an image of peace.


Edward Hicks, a Bucks County Quaker, made a living painting signs and coaches. A split within the Quaker faith inspired him to paint several scenes based on the Biblical passage, "the lion shall lay down with the lamb." He soon added an image of Native Americans meeting with William Penn in the background. Both his religious heritage and local history likely influenced Hicks to paint the image of Penn's Treaty.