Joseph Wright of Derby
Now here's a painting worth buying for the nation: Joseph Wright of Derby's portrait of Lancashire cotton king Sir Richard Arkwright (1785). London's National Portrait Gallery and the Harris Museum in Preston - the city where Arkwright was born in 1732 - teamed up to buy the portrait. The Art Fund put £100,000 into the pot, and the National Heritage Memorial Fund added £132,000. The painting cost £420,000, which is a bargain in terms of art-market silly prices. Not only is it of historic importance to Britain's Industrial Revolution, but also Joseph Wright of Derby was one of our finest and most innovative artists. The portrait will be on display at NPG until January 2009.