Founded in 1844 by members of the Free Church of Scotland, the North British Review was proposed as a 'national review' for Scotland, aiming to fill the perceived gap between the secular Edinburgh Review and the conservative Quarterly Review (Matheson, Victorian Periodicals: A Guide to Research, Vol. II, p. 101). Like the British Quarterly Review and the Prospective Review, it attempted to transcend its sectarian origins by taking a more liberal perspective on politics and religion. However, its interests effectively remained anti-establishment and anti-Catholic. Regular contributors included Thomas De Quincey, Coventry Patmore, David Masson, and T. A. Trollope. (See Altholz, Religious Press in Britain, Houghton, Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, Shattock and Wolff, Victorian Press: Samplings and Soundings, p. 148.)
A sympathetic review of Modern Painters I and II appeared in the North British Review, February 1847, written by a friend of John James Ruskin, Dr. John Brown.