Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, March 5, 1935

Finance Ministry

Budapest

5.III.35

Dear Robert,

I asked Hayford to send you a photo., which I thought he had, of an ivory belonging to Claudius Cote,Claudius Côte (1881–1956), a collector in Lyon, France. of Lyon. I now hear from Hayford that he hasn’t got the photo.

Well, anyway the Cote Ivory, a crucifixion,Crucifixion, late tenth century, ivory. See Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.–XIII. Jahrhunderts, vol. 2, Reliefs (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1934), 68, no. 165, pl. 56. which I’ve seen, is nowhere near as good as yours (Burns-Bacri),BZ.1929.2. and especially in view of the TrivulzioLuigi Alberico Trivulzio (1868–1938), Prince of Musocco and Marchese of Sesto Ulteriano. Trivulzio was responsible for the sale of much of his family’s art collection. things fetching loose I don’t think you’d glance at the Cote one. He’s asking a huge price—says he has an offer of 150,000 frs. He’d better take it.

I’ve had another letter from Sangiorgi asking me if I thought you would give Lire 300,000 for the Holy Women at the Tomb ivoryHoly Women at the Tomb, Early Christian, ca. 400, ivory, Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata, Castello Sforzesco, Milan. mentioned in my last letter. I answered that I couldn’t give him any sort of indication as to your intentions.

Much love to you both.

R. T.

[carbon copy enclosure]

Sujet: Crucifixion

Le Christ en croix accoste de la Vierge et de Saint Jean sous une arcature aux piliers ajourés

Dimensions: 125 m/m x 145 m/m

Cette pièce se trouvait à la fin du XVIIIo et commencement du XIXo dans le trésor de la cathédrale du Puy (Auvergne).

Cette plaque était montée en baiser de paix et servait aux grandes cérémonies.

(Je possède cette monture séparée de la plaque d’ivoire qui peut être remise en place très facilement).

Acquis à la Cathédrale du Puy par Monsieur Aymard, Conservateur des Musées d’Auvergne en 1849.

Acquis des Héritiers de Feu Monsieur Aymard en 1908.

Cet ivoire est publié:

De Molègue et Aymard, pl. XVII, Les Objets Religieux d’Auvergne 1857.

Bulletin Monumental, p. 328 fig. Année 1865.

Rohault de Fleury: la Messe, tome VI, p. 135 fig. Planche CDXCVI Années 1884-1888

Schlumberger, dans une letter du 8 Juillet 1909 considère cette pièce de travail byzantine des Ivoiriers de Constantinople du XIo/XIIo siècle.

Prof. Bertaux, Coll. C. Cote 1912, fig. Planche en couleur en reduction.

De Linas considère cette pièce dans l’ouvrage de Molègue et Aymard de 1857 comme le plus ancient baiser de paix connu.

Je ne crois pas qu’un ivoire du XIIo siècle puisse avoir un pedigree aussi complet.

La tradition voulait que cet ivoire qui avait primitivement été sur un manuscrit à l’époque byzantine ait été rapporté à la Cathédrale du Puy au moment des Croisades et à ce moment monté en baiser de paix.“Subject: Crucifixion Christ on the cross flanked by the Virgin and St. John under an arch with pierced pillars. Dimensions: 125 mm x 145 mm. This piece was found at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th in the treasury of the cathedral of Puy (Auvergne). This plaque was mounted as an osculatory and served in great ceremonies. (I have this mount separated from the ivory plaque that can be replaced very easily). Acquired from the Cathedral of Puy by Mr. Aymard, Curator of the museums of Auvergne in 1849. Acquired by the heirs of the deceased Mr. Aymard in 1908. This ivory is published: De Molègue et Aymard, pl. XVII, Les Objets Religieux d’Auvergne 1857. Bulletin Monumental, p. 328 fig. Année 1865. Rohault de Fleury: la Messe, tome VI, p. 135 fig. Planche CDXCVI Années 1884–1888. Schlumberger, in a letter of July 8, 1909, considered this artwork Byzantine from the ivory carvers of Constantinople of the 11th–12th century. Prof. Bertaux, Coll. C. Cote 1912, fig. Plate in color and reduced. De Linas considered this piece in the study of Molègue and Aymard of 1857 as the oldest osculatory known. I do not know another ivory of the 12th century having a pedigree so complete. Tradition suggests that the ivory, which had originally been on a manuscript of the Byzantine period, was brought to Le Puy Cathedral at the time of the Crusades and at that time mounted as an osculatory.”

 
Associated People: Giorgio Sangiorgi; Hayford Peirce
Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1929.2