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Group associated with the Moravian Church

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Group associated with the Moravian Church

attributed to Johann Valentin Haidt
oil on canvas, circa 1752-1754
19 1/2 in. x 24 1/8 in. (495 mm x 613 mm)
Purchased, 1881
Primary Collection
NPG 624a

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The Moravians were exempt from the bearing of arms and given legal status by Act in 1749. This scene, more imaginary than historical, commemorates this crucial event in the history of this early Protestant movement, claiming descent from John Huss (died 1415). They settled in Georgia, 1735, and in London where the act was proposed to exempt the American Brethren from bearing arms. The picture perhaps refers to this becoming law. Count Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian Church, can be seen on the far right. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).

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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.

International

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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