Travellers in an Ancient Land
Travellers in an Ancient Land one of the ten paintings in Ray Ching’s series ‘’Fables from the Peaceable Kingdom’’. Ching has said that he was inspired by the American Quaker and folk-artist Edward Hicks (1780-1840) who over forty years created paintings of an ideal world he imagined in which all creatures lived together in harmony. He called this world the ‘’Peaceable Kingdom’’.
Here, Ching imagines his own Peaceable Kingdom. Unlike Hick’s naïve folk style of painting, Ching’s animals are painted with the almost photographically realistic level of detail he is renowned for. The animals are painted using oils, while the backdrops of his perfect and magical world are 100-year-old cuttings from the comics section of a Sunday newspaper. The fables are all of his own creation.
The title of this painting recalls the opening line of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, which tells a story that starts ‘’I met a traveller from an antique land’’. But while Shelley’s Romantic poem explores the theme of empires and legacies crumbling, Ching’s painting is far more optimistic. Is exotic creatures seem to be working as a team in their harmonious Peaceable Kingdom. This painting is notable for featuring the birds that Ching is best known for painting.