Pretty dry stuff, huh?
If you pay attention to what Hatherell was doing, you might even find energy, excitement and imagination in his approach.
Look at the lightning bolt shading skittering down that sleeve to that vividly highlighted hand:
...or how powerfully Hatherell depicts the structure of the lawyer's face...
The woman poised to sign the document believes it is false and is looking at the lawyer to understand whether he knowingly wants her to sign it:
Hatherell conveys this with a single raised eyebrow, located strategically at the center of the picture. Such subtlety would be lost on today's audiences. Illustrators today would be forced to spotlight that face and exaggerate the expression and body language to get our attention. In my opinion, our insensitivity is nothing to be proud of.
John Lubbock wrote, "What we see depends mainly on what we look for." Before we conclude that 19th century illustrations lacked strength and boldness, we need to understand what to look for.