Group associated with the Moravian Church

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Group associated with the Moravian Church

attributed to Johann Valentin Haidt
oil on canvas, circa 1752-1754
20 7/8 in. x 24 5/8 in. (530 mm x 626 mm)
Purchased, 1904
Primary Collection
NPG 1356

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This unusual scene features members of the Moravian Brethren, a reformed group of Protestants from East Bohemia who settled in Saxony in the early eighteenth century. In 1735 ten Moravian missionaries, accompanied by the Wesley brothers, went to Georgia in America to found a settlement. Soon after their charismatic leader, the missionary and mystic Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf visited London with the intention of securing protection for Moravians living and working as missionaries in Georgia and the British colonies. In 1749 an Act of Parliament was passed to this effect, and this painting commemorates the event. The figures have not all been identified, but the King wearing red robes and a crown must be George II, and the man to the extreme right is Zizendorf, receiving a copy of the Act.

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Current affairs

Calendar Act (also known as Chesterfield's Act after Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield) comes into force, abolishing the old Julian calendar and adopting the more accurate Gregorian calendar. The year now begins on 1st January rather than 25th March.
Parliament passes a bill to bestow estates forfeited by Jacobites to the Crown and use the revenue to develop the Scottish Highlands.

Art and science

Artist William Hogarth publishes his influential book The Analysis of Beauty which presents his ideas about aesthetics.
Charles Avison publishes Essay on Musical Expression; the first work of musical criticism published in English.
Obstetrician William Smellie introduces scientific midwifery.


Benjamin Franklin flies a kite into a thunder cloud to demonstrate the nature of electricity.
Georgia becomes a royal colony; the last of the thirteen American colonies.
French seize or evict every English-speaking trader in the region of upper Ohio. Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia.
Robert Clive forces the surrender of French troops in the aftermath of the Siege of Trichinopoly in India.

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