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Mai (Omai)

3 of 7 portraits of Mai (Omai)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mai (Omai)

by Page
line engraving, published August 1774
8 1/8 in. x 5 1/4 in. (207 mm x 133 mm)
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Reference Collection
NPG D9162

Sitterback to top

  • Mai (Omai) (circa 1753-circa 1780), First Polynesian to visit England. Sitter in 7 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Page (active 1776-1793), Engraver. Artist or producer associated with 2 portraits.

Events of 1774back to top

Current affairs

Philanthropist and reformer John Howard is called before the House of Commons Select Committee to give evidence on the shocking conditions in prisons across the country.
Young Tahitian Omai arrives in England after making contact with Captain James Cook on his second voyage. He is introduced into London Society by Joseph Banks and is much admired.
Coercive or 'Intolerable' Acts are passed in response to the crisis in the American colonies.

Art and science

Philosopher and chemist Joseph Priestley isolates oxygen in the form of a gas.
Artist Thomas Gainsborough moves from Bath to set up a studio in London.
Royal Crescent, Bath, designed by John Wood the Younger, is completed.
Methodist preacher John Wesley publishes his pamphlet Thoughts Upon Slavery which argues against slavery.

International

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe publishes his romantic novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, bringing him an immediate European reputation.
In retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, the port of Boston is closed under the first of the British government's Coercive Acts. Delegates from twelve American colonies meet in Philadelphia and agree not to import any goods from Britain.
Death of Louis XV of France. Louis XVI succeeds.

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