Portrait of Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Wright of Derby (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)
New to Birmingham, BMAG bought it for £275,000 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. That chubby face belies one of the most versatile minds Birmingham has known: Erasmus Darwin. He was grandfather to Charles Darwin and founder member of the Lunar Society, a renegade bunch of free thinkers that believed in wacky stuff like freeing slaves, educating woman, and religious tolerance. He was offered the cushy job of King George III's physician but, brilliantly, turned it down to be near his experiments, which included a mechanical bird. The painting is currently on display in Gallery 23. Go say hello.
Value: £275,000 On show until: Rotating schedule