"Patten has confronted a huge often baffling mass of Cruikshank's achievement head on ... meticulous ... a fine wide-ranging lesson in English history, politics, and publishing. ... Patten's particular achievement is to have looked at Cruikshank with fresh eyes, and to have liberated him from the captivity of collectors who have been nibbling at and burnishing him for decades, often with the artist's active compliance."
The New York Times Book Review
"I marvelled at the detail in Robert Patten's George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art: Vol I ... a full to bursting account of what it took to rival Gillray in one era and set Dickens going in another."
William Feaver, in The Observer
"What the book really gives us is a clear exposition of the practicalities of the life and art of a genius ... In the Prologue we have what to this reader is the most evocative and lucid description of the processes of etching and engraving he has encountered."
David Bruce, in Antiquarian Book Monthly
"Patten's book enthrals from the first page ... Let's hope that we shall not have to wait another 25 years to read Patten on this rich ardent and much derided phase of Cruikshank's career."
John Carey, in The Sunday Times
"Patten has apparently read every letter, examined every visual source, and thus is equipped to comment on virtually everything Cruikshank produced."
Marc Baer, in Print Quarterly
"... telling, instructive, analytic ... sets forth Cruikshank's achievements over 60 years with deep-delving analysis and plentiful context ... helps us see why Cruikshank was an inspiration for a wide range of graphic artists and modern illustrators."
"... extremely detailed ... monumental ... great and perceptive detail throughout the text... Prof. Patten seems to have read every item of contemporary correspondence by, to, or relating to Cruikshank and furthermore he weaves that which is relevant so seamlessly into his narrative that the reader of this biography almost feels as if he were present as the events described unfold. Prof. Patten is so well qualified, perhaps uniquely so, to analyse and discuss the relationship between Dickens and Cruikshank ... a vast amount of supporting detail."
"... big compliments to the second and last volume of the admirable George Cruikshank biography by Robert L. Patten... Cruikshank, maybe the most popular English artist in the nineteenth century, is finding at last this recognition he looked for in vain during all of his life."
"... gigantic study ... long-meditated biography. The biographical narrative is central, but Patten ensures that the supplementary stories are told. Dr. Patten is, as always, a keen observer of the qualities of the artist's work but his critical assessment is integrated into the circumstances surrounding the production. The value of this giant study for later specialist investigators will be the firm delineation of the setting within which Cruikshank's pell-mell activities took place."
Children's Books History Society Newsletter
"... a triumph of the biographer's art – learned but lively, obsessed but always objective, and above all managing to convey the sheer raciness of the subject's long life. ... Patten's achievement is to bring out his centrality to the various worlds in which Cruikshank moved. Without Cruikshank, as Patten shows, English comic art – and 19th century English literature – would have been radically different entities."
D.J. Taylor, in The Guardian