Willis, The Architectural History of Winchester Cathedral
No student of the architecture of Winchester Cathedral can pursue his studies very far before he comes across the name of Robert Willis, whose History of the Architecture of Winchester Cathedral, first written in 1845, has never been outdated and which still tops the list of required reading for anyone wishing to make a serious study of the subject. Unfortunately, however, Willis’ paper has not been easy to obtain. It forms a part of the “Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, at Winchester, September, MDCCCXLV”, to give the volume its full title, but this, while available for reference in a small number of select public and academic libraries, is only to be found very occasionally in the second-hand bookshops. In 1972 a collection of Robert Willis’ architectural papers, including his history of Winchester Cathedral, was published in two volumes by Paul Minet, at the suggestion of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, under the title Architectural History of Some English Cathedrals, but the volume containing the Winchester paper is now out of print. In making Willis’ History obtainable in a new and handy form the Friends of the Cathedral therefore believe that they are doing a service that will be widely appreciated.
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