22 FEBRUARY 1890, Page 24

Westminster Abbey. By W. J. Loftie, B.A. With Illustrations, chiefly

by H. Railton. (Seeley and Co.)—The articles on West- minster Abbey which have been the principal feature of the Portfolio during 1889, have been republished in a handsome volume. We have no one who can write better on such subjects than Mr. Loftie, while Mr. Railton is certainly equal to any con- temporary artist in his renderings of architectural effect. The volume before us contains twelve full-page illustrations, etched or rendered by some process which gives closely the effect of etching. Three of the twelve are views of the exterior, that of Henry VIL's Chapel being, we think, particularly fine. Of the interiors, we have the same chapel again, not quite so much to our liking. " The Confessor's Chapel" is very good, and " The Interior of the Nave" nearly equal to it. Nor must we forget to mention with special praise the frontispiece, " The South Aisle of the Choir." The vignettes are between sixty and seventy in number. It is not easy to single out of so many, all of them, we may say, worthy of their place, any for special notice. The technical skill shown in the reproduction of the effigies, where very great difficulties have been overcome by a most ingenious application of photography, and the excellent effect produced, are most praiseworthy. We venture to say that few visitors to the Abbey carry away, after ocular inspection, such an impression of the figures of Edward III. and Henry VII. as they may get from the representations here given. The drawings of detail in the Triforium may be mentioned as especially artistic. Mr. Loftie knows his subject thoroughly, and is able to give a true literary touch to what he knows. The wealth of materials from which he had to choose is embarrassing, and he deserves great credit for the judgment of his selection. And he has the merit of accuracy, not always granted to picturesque writers. All that he wants is, as we have hinted elsewhere, a somewhat more equable temper when he deals with the vexed question of restoration.