There are some great set pieces in this “autobiography” when Miranda Miller brings together Angelica’s experiences and some of the civic, military and social events of her time: what it was like to be a Catholic – Angelica remained a pious observer all her life – in 1780 London, when the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots rage through the streets and the Kauffmann family wait for the mob to drag them out of their house; the humiliation of the Romans when napoleon’s troops kidnap Pope Pius V11 and force him to officiate at the self-proclaimed emperor’s coronation; the decadence and extravagance of a Venetian gambling den where the Russian Tsar’s son and descendants of a Byzantine emperor gain and lose fortunes in seconds. The Royal Academy’s Angelica Kauffmann exhibition, planned for this summer, has had to be put on hold. But at least we have this lively book.