'There is never a dull passage in this book ... Hall manages to retain the intellectual high ground while writing with verve and enthusiasm '
Frances Spalding, Guardian
'Wide-ranging, richly researched and evocatively illustrated … It is as varied, revelatory and idiosyncratic as the genre which it takes as its subject'
'Fascinating, erudite and beautifully produced'
'Enthralling … Scattering insights on all sides, Hall’s narrative advances through the centuries with masterly vigour'
'Stimulating … Hall writes with energetic freshness … a highly engaged book that raises many questions about this intriguing and still-active genre. It deserves to be widely read'
'Spirited … the book’s readability and the depth of research give it an engaging pace that makes it especially refreshing'
The Art Newspaper
'Lively ... Hall's range of reference is polymathic and his writing often pithy'
'A stimulating and demanding book that requires an equally serious engagement from any reader ... There's no questioning the scholarship that lies behind this book'
'Hall's boundless curiosity explodes in all directions from the relatively few pages he has been allocated. Mostly we want more: more detail, more explanation and many more pictures. Given that this is a chunky and well-illustrated volume, that is meant as high praise'
Andrew Marr, New Statesman
'Hall's writing is not only accessible for a general audience, but filled with notable insights, including spicy, prurient ones'
The Daily Beast
'A graceful, sure-footed exposition, both authoritative and entertaining, of a long thread in cultural history ... I was hooked'
'A textured biography of the genre, where familiar works cohabit easily with esoteric ones, veined by richly-detailed, penetrating observations'
Sunday Business Post
'Exceptionally rich in detail'
Good Book Guide
'Detailed and informative ... a serious and scholarly work that nevertheless retains the reader's interest and attention and is generously and thoughtfully illustrated'
Art Book Review
'Beautifully designed ... (Hall) delivers original and engaging interpretations'