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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, June 17, 1929

41, Bishopsgate,
London, E.C.2.
17.VI.29Monday.

Dearest Mildred,

Here I am once again in the bank, applying myself to the problems of the bill of exchange and the acceptance credit.

It is a very interesting moment here. A wonderful, if familiar, aspect of the British mental habit is revealed when one hears expressions of satisfaction with the Labour Govt. from the same people who, a month ago, were saying that everything was quite safe because the Conservatives were coming back with an absolute majority. I don’t mean to be facetious: it really is an immense source of strength that, when a party is put into power by a Gen. election, the great body of opinion should support it, dwell on its strong points and give it as good a chance as possible.

And if there is one point on which this Govt. is likely to do well, it is Anglo-American relations. Ramsay MacDonald’sJames Ramsay MacDonald (1866–1937), a British Labour politician, who was prime minister between 1929 and 1931. He was the first British prime minister to visit the United States. visit to the US. offers a huge opportunity of getting out of the doldrums, and the Prime Minister’s qualities are just those that are wanted. (Remember a little grey bird).One of Royall Tyler’s nicknames for Arthur Salter.

I saw Kelekian again before leaving Paris. I had already told him that no name must be mentioned in connexion with the Copt. tapestry. The last time I saw him, last Friday, he told me that Mrs. Arthur SachsAlice Sachs (née Goldschmidt) (1885–1930), who had married the financier and collector Arthur Sachs (1880–1975) in 1906. had been to see him to enquire about the tapestry, and had said that her husband, who had just arrived in Paris, was very much interested. K. told her that the tapestry was sold (mentioning no name), whereupon, according to K., Mrs. Sachs said, with some warmth, that it served her husband right.

I had a long talk with the old boy, who was very funny—and very pathetic. He said he couldn’t stay in business, he had no one at all to support him. His son cared nothing about it, and he himself couldn’t be at the same time in Paris and N.Y. and Egypt and all the other places. I suggested that he might put in the shop in Paris someone who could speak some European language, unlike the Oriental who is there at present, and who can speak nothing but Turkish and Armenian. K. sighed, and said it was impossible. If he did put anyone there who could make himself understood and talk to the customers, that person would drive all the customers away from K., and would open a shop opposite. So K. had nothing for it but to give the job to his cousin, who was at any rate safe. He then pointed sadly to half a dozen ugly modern pictures which he had just unpacked, and said ‘When I was in Italy I saw a man who painted nice pictures and I told him to paint me some and now he has painted them and they aren’t nice.’

K. says he is absolutely sure that the standing archaic Greek figure in Berlin, the pride of the Museum, is by Dossena.Alceo Dossena (1878–1937), an Italian sculptor skilled at duplicating classical Greek, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance styles. His dealers marketed his sculptures as originals from other periods. See Gisela M. A. Richter, “Forgeries of Greek Sculpture,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 24 no. 1 (January 1929): 3–5. I can well believe it, for though I spent some time looking at it when I was in Berlin in April, I could not see it as what it sets out to be.

I hear that Braman,Dwight Braman (1861–1929), an American financier who intended to bring the sea into the Sahara Desert using American engineers and machinery. The plan ended with his death by heart attack in 1929. the father of the scheme for irrigating the Sahara, died suddenly last week. It’s dramatic, the way the Sahara defends itself. And it doesn’t wait until the desecration has taken place, like the tutelars who watch over the Tombs of Egypt and punish those who rob them. The Sahara strikes first.

Bill is free of fever at last, and is spending a few days by the sea-side for a change of air.

I don’t allow myself to think that it’s going to be a year before I see you again, precious Mildred—I can’t sit down under that prospect. Please send me a line soon, even if it’s only a line. I hear the Barcelona showThe 1929 Barcelona International Exposition took place from May 20, 1929, to January 15, 1930. is a marvel, and I’m planning to go there—did you catch a glimpse of it?

Much love
R. T.

 
Associated Places: London (United Kingdom)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1929.1