Erasmus Darwin, English physician, 1797.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Holl made in 1803 after a painting by Rawlinson of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802). Beneath the portrait is a scene showing a pair of doves and two cupids, one with a bow and arrow, in a romantic setting of plants and flowers. Erasmus Darwin was the grandfather of the naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). Many of Erasmus Darwin's ideas on evolution anticipated later thinking. His most important work was 'Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life' (1794-96). His other interests included poetry, mechanical invention, and botany. He was also a member of the Lunar Society.