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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, January 5, 1928

Antigny-le-Château
par Arnay-le-Duc
(Côte d’Or)
5.Jan.1928Thursday.

I am sending you a bunch of photographs,These photographs, if still extant, have not been identified. dearest Mildred, all of objects I have recently seen and which you might perhaps be interested in.

I wired to you the other daySee telegram of December 31, 1927. to let you know that the £1,500 had arrived, and that I hadn’t bought anything yet.

The fine silver and niello buckleProbably a fifth-century buckle found in Szabadbattyán, country of Fehér, Western Hungary. See Nándor Fettich, Eine gotische Silberschnalle im Ungarischen National Museum (Prag: Seminarium Kondakovianum, 1928). See letter of October 24, 1927 [2]. I wrote to you about from Bpest was finally secured by the Museum.

The enamels at C’ple are still with Andronicos.Little is known about the Istanbul antiquities dealer Andronikos. The pieces included an enameled cross, two enameled “jewels,” and a ring; they were eventually acquired by Adolph Stoclet. See letters of April 29, 1928; May 10, 1928; September 12, 1928 [2]; and October 23, 1929. Precisely which enamels came from Andronikos is not easy to ascertain. The cross is possibly the enameled reliquary cross from the Stoclet Collection now in the British Museum, M&ME 1965, 6-4, 1. If, when you have looked at the photos.,These photographs, if still extant, have not been identified. you let me know that you want the enamels, I’ll make an attempt to get them for £ 1000. It won’t hurt Andronicos to wait a bit. He’s asking exorbitant prices for them and for a lot of coins which Hayford Peirce wants to get from him.Hayford Peirce acquired a number of coins from the dealer Andronikos. See Philip Grierson and Melinda Mays, Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection: From Arcadius and Honorius to the Accession of Anastasius (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1992), 339. If you want the enamels, Hayford and I will make a combined attack.

The two Chaldean statues are for the moment the sensation of Paris. Feuardent has them, and has shown them to ‘hardly anyone’, but the welkin rings“There is a large noise.” about them. They are both very fine indeed. The standing figureGudea, Prince of Lagash, dedicated to the goddess Geshtinanna, called “Statue with Gushing Vase,” ca. 2120 BCE, dolerite, 62.0 cm x 25.6 cm, Musée du Louvre, AO 22126. The statue was found at Tello. See Julian Reade, “Early Monuments in Gulf Stone at the British Museum, with Observations on Some Gudea Statues and the Location of Agade,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 92, no. 2 (January 2002), 284; and Flemming Johansen, Statues of Gudea, Ancient and Modern (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1978), 32. represents Mesopotamia, with the Tigris and Euphrates flowing out of the vase held in the figure’s hands. The stone is almost like sharks-skin, most beautiful in colour. As you know, Chaldean sculpture is excessively rare, and pieces having preserved their heads still rarer. I had great difficulty in getting Feuardent to lend me the photos., and only got them on promising that you would return them to him at once: Feuardent, 4 rue de Louvois, Paris. He wants £ 35,000 for the seated figure of Goudea,Statue of Gudea, Neo-Sumerian, ca. 2090 BCE, diorite, 44.0 cm x 21.5 cm x 29.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, 59.2. This statue was probably found at Tello in 1924 and was in the collection of Feuardent Frères until the 1930s. and £ 30,000 for the standing one, which I prefer. I don’t assume you will care to compete, but the things are of such rarity and importance that I wanted to give you a glimpse of them.

The carpetThis carpet is no longer in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. In the ex-collection files, it is described as Rhodian or Caucasian with a tomato ground, styled foliage, and a geometric border, 7’4” x 4’3”. The Blisses acquired the carpet from Kalebdjian on April 29, 1928. The carpet was sold to Karekin Beshir in December 1952; it was subsequently acquired by John J. Emery Jr. and given to the Cincinnati Art Museum. See letters of February 1, 1928 [1]; February 1, 1928 [2]; March 13, 1928; April 9, 1928; and April 29, 1928. belongs to Kalebdjian, 21 rue Balzac. It is an Asia Minor carpet, early XVI or even XV cent., and I think very beautiful. K.’s last price for it is Frs. 32,500, which I consider cheap. I’ve never seen a well preserved carpet of this sort (which appears in Holbein’sHans Holbein the Younger (ca. 1497–1543), a German Renaissance artist and printmaker. A “Holbein carpet” is a type of Anatolian carpet taking its name from Hans Holbein the Younger due to his depiction of this type of carpet in some of his paintings. This type of carpet has purely geometric ornament that uses a variety of arrangements of lozenges, crosses, and octagonal motifs within its main field. and the Venetians’ pictures) for sale before.

The silver ewerThis ewer has not been identified. It was acquired by Hayford Peirce. See letters of January 31, 1928; February 1, 1928 [1]; February 1, 1928 [2]; March 13, 1928; April 9, 1928; and April 29, 1928. is Sassanian, and belongs to Ernest Brummer, 36 rue de Miromesuil, Paris. As the photo, shows, it has been broken in two and obviously (but not uglily) mended. The patina is like that of my chalice or your paten. The shape is very pure and beautiful, and I consider the thing well worth the £ 350 Brummer wants for it (tax included).

The two Mexican masksThese masks have not been identified. belong to a friend of E. Brummer’s. The black one is fine in quality—close grained black marble. The other is greeny-white jade, and doesn’t very much appeal to me in style, though the material is fine. If you cared to have them, I expect they could be got for about Frs. 12,000 each, or possibly less.

I spent ten days in Paris and went to many dealers. There’s a HunkyRoyall Tyler’s slang for Hungarian. Jew called HeinBéla Desco Hein (1883–1931), a Hungarian collector and dealer. Born in Kremnica, Slovakia, Hein arrived in Paris in 1910 and opened a gallery specializing in tribal and European works of art in 1923. Hein is especially known for his collection of African art. in the rue des Sts Pères who has (a) a very, very fine Mexican black marble mask, very noble in style, but with the nose and part of the mouth broken, and (b) a whole series of good Mexican green jade ornaments. Hein asks horrid prices: 20,000 frs. for the mask and about 20,000 frs. each for the jade ornaments. I fancy he could be got down a bit, and I’d try if you wanted to go for the things.

Please let me know as soon as ever you can whether you want me to get any of these things for you. I should have gone ahead and bought the Sassanian ewerThis ewer has not been identified. It was acquired by Hayford Peirce. See letters of January 31, 1928; February 1, 1928 [1]; February 1, 1928 [2]; March 13, 1928; April 9, 1928; and April 29, 1928. had it not been for the fact that Brummer Ernest is so immersed in a huge work he is preparing on Mexican, Peruvian etc art that he neglects his business and doesn’t show anything, so I don’t think there’s any danger of his selling it before I hear from you. I’ll get his book for you when it appears. 200 reproductions!Adolphe Basler and Ernest Brummer, L’art précolombien (Paris: Librairie de France, 1928). The copy of this book in the Dumbarton Oaks Library is inscribed to Mildred Barnes Bliss by Ernest Brummer.

Please, dearest Mildred, return to me, when you have studied them, all these photos, except for Feuardent’s, which I have pledged you to return to him.

Hayford and I are very busy doing the article on Byz. art for the new edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.This was published in the 1929 fourteenth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I was much pleased at having been asked to do it, and it is good for one to have to conduct such an examen de conscience“Examination of conscience.” as is necessary when one has to state what Byz. art is and give an adequate idea of it in 7000 words.

Elisina and Bill are very well, and we’re enjoying a fine old-fashioned winter, everything frozen stiff. I return to Hungary before the end of this month.

Bill did well at Harrow last term and was in the finals in the boxing competition (feather-weight class) only being narrowly beaten on points by a young BentinckA prominent British family. who is a year older than he, and who is such a boxer that he wishes to become a professional. Fame in store for the Bentincks at last!

On my way to Geneva I spent three days with Edith at Hyères. I found her very well and full of life and plans for work and travel. She is a splendid person, and has taken this blow of W. Berry’s death with great dignity and wisdom.

Much love to you and Robert, dearest Mildred. Do let me hear from you soon. I so often think of you tucked away at the antipodes. When shall I see you?

Yrs ever
R. T.

 
Associated Artworks: BZ.1924.5; BZ.1955.18