Angelica, Paintress of Minds

By Miranda Miller

Category: Fiction, Historical, Women's

Formats available: Paperback, Ebook

Pages: 280

Publication date: 13/08/20

ISBN-13: 9781909954410

ISBN-10: 1909954411

The sparky, true life novel tells the life story of a woman who battled misogyny to become one of the greatest artists of the eighteenth century.

Angelica Kaufman is so successful that when she comes to England as a young woman in 1766 a word is coined: Angelicamad.  After fifteen triumphant years in London she is terrified (as a devout Catholic) by the Gordon Riots and returns to Italy.

In Rome, as an old lady, a lively young artist and model names Lucia is Angelica’s guest.  And she’s pregnant, ridded with the scandal Angelica has been trying to avoid all her life. “She is the girl I trained myself not to be.”  Male artists can do as they like but women always have to be decorous or they will lose their aristocratic patrons.

In her studio, Angelica stares at her self portraits and relives her journey from a poor background to international fame. She draws us into her fascinating past through the portraits she has painted of her friends, including Antonio Canova, Germaine de Stael, Emma Hamilton and Goethe.

This is a novel about a gifted and powerful woman with a kind heart.  Like us, she lives at a time of bewildering change and fears the unknown future.

Hilary Mantel: ‘“Miller’s intricate fictions are lit by the dark flicker of a strong and original imagination.”

“A richly imagined and authoritative portrait of a fascinating and important painter, and a woman who was one of the most famous people of her era. Miller explores Angelica’s vivid and conflicted inner life with panache and passion.”— Jean McNeil, author of The Ice Diaries


Wonderfully rich material and north London-based novelist Miranda Miller has made a swashbucking drama out of it in what she calls a "fictionalised autobiography". There are some great set pieces when Miranda Miller brings together Angelica's experiences and some of the civic, military and social "events" of her time.

- Piers Plowright - Camden Journal

The novel is beautifully written, with phrases like the young Angelica thinking “titles make a special shape in the air when people speak them, high and arched”. Kauffmann is presented as hard-working, loyal, kind, sometimes susceptible but more determined than she thinks she is. She had to be, for hers was a man’s world. Her artistic talent was only permitted to grow in the first place because her father eventually enabled it.

- Katherine Mezzacappa, in the Review of the Historical Novel Society

Miranda Miller’s novel, a first-person account of the life of the 18th-century Swiss neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffman, faithfully reflects the career of the somewhat overlooked founding member of the Royal Academy… A fascinating life and a fine painter in what’s a story well told by Miller.

- Paul Simon - Morning Star

Miranda Miller

London-based Miranda Miller has written seven novels, a volume of short stories about expat life in Saudi Arabia, and a book of interviews with homeless women and politicians. She was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Courtauld Institute from 2013-15. Hilary Mantel has written of her work, ‘Miller’s intricate fictions are lit by the dark flicker of a strong and original imagination.’  In 2021 her Bedlam trilogy, three self-contained  novels linked by the themes of artists and madness, will be published by Peter Owen. The Royal Academy Magazine chose her …

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A Writer’s Journey to discover Angelica Kauffmann – Miranda Miller

Writing fiction about a real person is a big responsibility. As I researched my novel about the painter Angelica Kauffmann (1741 – 1807) I worried that I wasn’t bringing her to life vividly enough. During the fifteen years she lived in London she was so successful that a word was …