Such was the view of Sir Walter Scott, writing in his journal in 1826, of contemporary painting in Britain. Scott’s understanding of the function of the visual arts, of what defines an ‘excellent’ painting, is symptomatic of an author who understood his own role not as that of an artist, but as a productive labourer.2 Painting should not merely please the eye, it must engage the viewer’s intellect; this neatly mirrors his attitude towards his defining literary genre, the historical novel. As a writer, Scott was always fully aware of men like himself, his primary audience, well educated and ‘susceptible’ to the Romantic flourishes of his settings and characters. As much as Scott wanted to entertain his readership, he also had a pedagogical agenda; his historical novels collapse the Romantic with the antiquarian, and he required any illustration of his fiction to attempt to achieve the same objective. Scott’s understanding of the role of illustration, and his insistence on a certain type of illustration to his novels, paved the way for their more famous Victorian successors.