Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, November 10, 1937

Finance Ministry

Budapest

10th November 1937.

Dear Robert,

Many thanks for your letters of October 21st and 25th. I have been notified by Morgan GrenfellMorgan, Grenfell & Co., an investment bank in London. In 1904, Edward Grenfell was made a partner in the firm, which was formerly known as J. P. Morgan & Co. and which, in 1909, became Morgan, Grenfell and Company. The bank played an important role in the reconstruction of European countries in the 1920s. of the receipt of £600 from you. I think I have already acknowledgedSee letter of October 25, 1937 [1]. the $2500 for the BustrosElias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. marriage belt.BZ.1937.33. By the way, I have not yet received this belt, the delay being perhaps caused by delay in granting Bustros permission to export it. In all the circumstances, I do not think it is safe to pay for the belt until I have actually got it in my possession. The risk of loss by depreciation of the Dollar seems to me to be the lesser risk in this instance. By the way, I see that to-day the Dollar improved somewhat in London. I find it difficult to believe that the Dollar and Sterling rate will draw much apart, or that the present gold value of the Dollar will be altered in the near future.

I cannot make out how I got it into my head that the BurgDr. Hermann Burg, a dealer in London at 32 St. James Street. textileBZ.1937.25. was £75, after having myself sent you the letter stating that it was £35.See letter of October 21, 1937 [1]. But I actually did remit £75 to Bill for this purpose. Bill at once told me of my mistake, and that he had received £35 from you. He then returned to me the £75. Please alter the last two lines in the accounts I sent to you,See letter of October 7, 1937. deleting the item £75 under “Credits”, and altering under “Debits”, the last item, which instead of an advance by me of £23-10.9 should be an amount to your credit of £47-9-3.For this credit, see letters of October 7, 1937; December 31, 1937; January 20, 1938 [2]; and February 1, 1938 [2].

I hope that the St. Stephen reliquaryBZ.1937.19. invoice has been sent off to you by now. I think I told you that I had spoken to a friend of mine in the U.S. Embassy in London about it, and he promised to see that Bill got it on the strength of an affidavit.

I am writing at once to Bustros about the spoon,BZ.1938.32. bowlBZ.1938.31. and “pinces”,BZ.1938.33–34. and hope to secure them for you. The price seems to me to be reasonable.

The Exposition des Chefs-d’Oeuvre de l’Art FrançaisChefs-d’oeuvres de l’art Français (Paris: Palais National des Arts, 1937). is to close on November 25th. I did not hear anything in Paris about objects from it that were likely to be offered for sale. However, I will make enquiries. I rather doubt whether any of the earlier things will come on to the market: almost all of them belong to public museums or to church treasures. I should be inclined to think that what was meant by the people who spoke to you was XVIIIe century stuff, and I don’t suppose you want to try for any of that. I will of course let you know if I find out that anything really interesting is being offered.

I have a letter from Bill quoting your cable asking him to get the BurgDr. Hermann Burg, a dealer in London at 32 St. James Street. rider silk,BZ.1937.29. and to try for Nos 31 and 39 of the Guilhou sale,Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). and announcing a letter about the objects coming up on the third day of the sale. As you have probably heard from him, he has got the rider silk for £200. I am delighted that you have got this piece, which is a great favourite of mine, and I think it is a real addition to the Oaks collection. As I have had no wire from Bill asking for a remittance, I fear that he failed to get either No 31 or 39 of the Guilhou things.Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). I hope very much he will succeed in getting some of the things you want on the third day.

I have just received from Olschki,Leo Samuel Olschki (1861–1940), a Jewish Pole born in the Polish territory of East Prussia who founded a printing house and dealt in rare books in Florence. The firm opened a branch in Rome in 1914. Rome, a letter which I am enclosing, together with two reproductions. I don’t care very“Very” crossed out. much for the two miniaturesThis manuscript has not been identified. reproduced, but I am sending them to you as I know you have no Byzantine books and think it is just possible you might be interested. You might perhaps let me know your decision, or communicate direct with Olschki.

Much love to you both

R. T.

The Olschki illuminations really are not of a very good style, but the attribution to the late XII cent. seems right to me. I don’t advise you to get the book, unless you feel you must have a Byz. painted MS.

I’m writing by this post to Metman, who took a leading part in organizing the Exp. Des Chefs d’Oeuvre, asking him to let me know what, if anything, is going onto the market.