Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, July 25, 1937

25.VII.37, Milan

Dear Robert.

I went to Lugano yesterday, & saw the Emperor,BZ.1937.23. who is magnificent. I cabled (copy enclosed) as you instructedSee letter of July 18, 1937. The cable is reproduced in letter of July 26, 1937 [1]. Milrob-N.Y., to remit to Hermann Fiedler, Rivigliana Lugano. There’s no change in the amount (33,000). H.F. prefers to receive it direct.

I’ll pay the insurance, which is to be contracted for 33,000 with Lloyds, but you know the amount. The relief will be shipped to you via Baltimore.

Volbach was wrong about the material of the Emperor. He is marble (not limestone): I should say he was of exactly the same light grey marble, not shiny, as the Campiello Angaran roundel,Roundel with Emperor Alexios I (?), Byzantine (?), twelfth century, marble, immured in the Campiello de Ca’ Angaran, Venice. See Matteo Bezzi, Iconologia della sacralità del potere: Il tondo di Angaran e l’etimasia (Spoleto: Fondazione Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 2007). & he’s exactly the same in style & in every respect except a few details of costume (the loros is different), & details of the footstool. I’m getting the dimensions of C. Angaran. I think the two were pendants. The chances are they came from Constantinople, as one doesn’t see why the Venetians should have representations of the Byz. Emperor made, when they had not long before shaken off his overlordship. Rather as if John Adams or Th. Jefferson had had a statue of George II erected.

I’m simply delighted that you’ve got this superb carving, the like of which (with the exception of C. Angaram which is archi-classé“Classified.”) is most unlikely to turn up again.

I’m sending you photosPhotographs of the objects in Prince Leopold’s collection are retained in the Byzantine Collection, Royall Tyler correspondence file. of the rest of the stuff belonging to the Prince. Not very good photos. You’ll see that one lot can be sold by the Prince, & the other is indivis“Indivisible.” between him & his mother.Princess Luise Sophie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1866–1952). A lot of the Venetian roundels & other reliefs are good in their way, but the only piece I think you ought to try to get is the relief of the Virgin,BZ.1938.62. of which the old photo you have already is better than this one. She is very lovely, and I think Greek, rather than Venetian. Volbach agrees on this last point. By the way, he told me yesterday that BodeWilhelm von Bode (1845–1929), a German art historian, curator, and museum director. He was the founder and first director of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, now called the Bode Museum, in Berlin. made various attempts to get the EmperorBZ.1937.23. & Virgin, & put alternative proposals to the owner: offering either (a) to buy Emp. & Virgin, & then give leave to the owner to export & sell the rest; 9b) to take the Emp. (gratis) & let the owner sell the rest; but the owner’s demands were exorbitant, & nothing was done. I don’t think there’s any hurry now. On the contrary, better let a bit of time pass before trying for the Virgin. But she’s a beauty, all right. I think finer than any of those enwalled in San Marco.The Virgin sculptures in the church of Saint Mark, Venice, are detailed by Otto Demus in The Church of San Marco in Venice: History, Architecture, Sculpture (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Trustees for Harvard University, 1960), pls. 36, 37, and 43. There is one, perhaps, even more beautiful, at Saloniki,Orant Virgin Mary from the church of Profitis Ilias, Byzantine, early eleventh century, marble, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, inv. no. AG 776. but she is headless, as is also a very lovely one at ConstantinopleOrant Virgin Mary from the church of Hagios Georgios Monastery, Byzantine, marble, Archaeological Museums, Istanbul, inv. 3914 T.—but rather earlier than this one, & both in museums. Prince L’s virgin is at present lent to the K. Friedrich,Kaiser Friedrich Museum, now called the Bode Museum, Berlin. but can be removed at any time. Think it over—let me know. I’m not for getting any of the rest, at least not at once (see below). The quality of your collection is high, & should be kept high. The angelA stone lectern in the form of an angel, South Italian, third quarter of the twelfth century, sandstone or limestone. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1:fig. 119 and 2:146–47, no. 128. is good in his way, but he’s decidedly Italian, & I’d keep off Ital. sculpture, I think. No more Campanian reliefs, either, unless they’re something quite irresistible (Il ne faut jamais dire: fontaine . . .)Beginning of the French proverb: Il ne faut pas dire “Fontaine je ne boiraia pas de ton eau.” “Never say: ‘Fountain I never drink of your water.’”

Old Fiedler has been busy about Gotha,See letters of April 8, 1937 [2]; April 9, 1937 [1]; April 9, 1937 [2]; April 16, 1937 [1]; April 16, 1937 [2]; May 22, 1937; June 3, 1937; June 16, 1937; June 26, 1937; July 6, 1937; July 25, 1937; August 21, 1937; September 4, 1937; October 25, 1937 [1]; November 23, 1937; December 13, 1937 [3]; February 28, 1938; March 31, 1938; July 10, 1938; July 29, 1938; August 10, 1938; August 16, 1938 [2]; December 20, 1938; and January 3, 1939. & thinks he can get it in Sept. I’ve told him to do his best at 4000 or less, & with 5000 as maximum. I think he’s honest. What he makes is his business, of course, & I don’t ask any questions of him or of Volbach.

The museum at HannoverAugust Kestner Museum, Hannover. has just had a new director put in, and F. thinks he might now get the Hannover wing of that diptych (and perhaps the Dresden wing too).See letters of March 1, 1937; April 6, 1937; April 9, 1937 [2]; June 3, 1937; August 18, 1937; August 21, 1937; September 4, 1937; September 11, 1937; December 13, 1937 [3]; and December 20, 1937. I’ve told him he may go to 7,500 for each of those two—and I’d suggest allowing him to go higher if necessary, up to 25 000 for the two. They’re of magnificent quality—the very finest of their sort. Let me know how you feel, There’s also, at Dresden, that ivory panel of 2 standing saintsSee letters of August 18, 1937; September 4, 1937; September 11, 1937; September 13, 1937; October 11, 1937 [2]; December 13, 1937 [3]; and April 15, 1938.—like those in ViennaAndrew and Peter, ivory, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, no. 26736. See Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.–XIII. Jahrhunderts, vol. 2, Reliefs (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1934), 38–39, no. 44, pl. 19. & VeniceJohn the Evangelist and Paul, ivory, Museo Archeologico, Venice. See Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.–XIII. Jahrhunderts, vol. 2, Reliefs (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1934), 38, no. 43, pl. 19. (see GogoTyler’s nickname for Adolph Goldschmidt (1863–1944), a Jewish German art historian.). It’s A1 in its way, too. Would you like to go to 10,000, say, for it? We’d try at a lower figure, of course.

I’ve also told F. to have a sniff at the Deutz lion silkLion Silk, Byzantine, late tenth–early eleventh century, Saint Heribert Diocesan Museum, Cologne-Deutz. The twelfth-century shrine of Saint Heribert, archbishop of Cologne (d. 1021), at Saint Heribert, Cologne-Deutz, has an imperial Byzantine lion silk with an inscription suggesting a date of ca. 976–1025 for the textile. See Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen, vol. 2 (Hildesheim, 1993): no. II-19. & make a noise like 7.500 & see what happens. There again, I think you would do well to get it if you can, up to 10,000. Let me know.

F. & V. both think there’s likely to be a bust-up in their beloved country before long, & if there were, these little affairs might come to an abrupt end. There’s also a bill being drafted to prohibit the export of works of art, but I don’t believe it will be enacted and/or enforced while the present crowd is in.

Düsseldorf is also selling. The V. & A. have bought several silks, one very lovely Seljuk fragment, perhaps not important enough for you (£380) & the Daniel & lions fragmentTwo fragments depicting Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Byzantine, ca. 700–1000, silk, Victoria and Albert Museum, acc. no. T.93-1937. The fragments were formerly in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Düsseldorf. reproduced in my Vol. IIHayford Peirce and Royall Tyler, L’art byzantin (Paris: Librairie de France, 1934), 2:83–84, pl. 47b. (£200). I’d have got the latter for you if I’d known in time. I don’t think there’s anything else at Düsseld. you’d want. But we’ll keep an eye on Deutz, & the Schlossmuseum.Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Schlossmuseum, Gotha.

In a way these repeated sales are good, for they tend to depress prices on the market, dealers being unwilling to stock at big prices with the prospect of all Fritz’sRoyall Tyler’s slang for “Germans.” stuff being dumped in competition. But I have a hunch that one ought to jump at the few A1 things that may come loose in that quarter, & get ‘em while they’re going, as it all might stop from one day to the next.

Sorry to bother you about Kalebdj’s complaint (mentioned in my yesterday’s cable) that he hasn’t yet had the price of his cameo.BZ.1937.20. He is no doubt frightened about the franc.

I’m leaving for Paris tonight, & will hold this till I can give you the latest news about Edith. Not very good, I fear, esp. as to eyes.

I was very sad to hear of Walter Gay’s death.Walter Gay died on July 15, 1937. I was very fond of him.

Please let me know as soon as the Mexican thingsPC.B.045, PC.B.056, PC.B.100, PC.B.101, PC.B.110, PC.B.160, PC.B.161, PC.B.162, and PC.B.249. are announced. If there’s more delay, I’ll make inquiries in London from the shippers.

29.VII.37

St. Brice

I’ve now been here a couple of days. Edith has gained some strength since I last saw her 5 weeks ago, but since then a) she has started serious troubles with her vision, connected with the rest, and b) her mind wanders frequently. She’ll go on talking sensibly for a time, & then say something like the half-thoughts half-dreams that come to one between sleep & waking. Also, her utterance has become rather thick. So, she has made some progress towards an adaptation to her present possibilities, a stabilisation as it were, but the fundamental condition continues as before, & is rather deteriorating. The occulist says she won’t altogether lose her sight. The doctors say she may go on like this for weeks or months, or even (possibly) a couple of years, but that any over-strain might result in paralysis, or she might pass away in her sleep. They hold out no hope of her recovering her former health: softening of the brain has already set in. Of course this is strictly for you and Mildred.

TrixBeatrix Farrand. is here, & I like her very much. But she is, after all, not very close to Edith. Her presence, after a time isn’t reposeful for Edith. She’s sailing back on Aug. 7, & I don’t see that it would do any good for her to stay.

The only person whose constant presence rests Edith & who can protect her from all worries & intrusions, fighting nurses & servants, etc etc, is Elisina. In the circumstances, Elisina won’t leave her. How long this can go on?? For the time being she feels she can’t make any plans, and I feel as she does. I’m going down to Antigny next week, for 10 or 12 days. Then I’ll come back, & run down to St. Jean de Luz to see my old friend Mrs. Stuart Menteath. Then I’ll have to go to Pest for a few days, but I hope to be able to return to these parts in Sept.

Now, about the enclosed photos.Photographs of the objects in Prince Leopold’s collection are retained in the Byzantine Collection, Royall Tyler correspondence file. There are two lots, one in a paper headed “Verkäuflich”,“For sale.” & which are Prince L’s personal property; the other in a paper “Im gemeinsamen Besitz”“Jointly owned.” on which other members of the family have rights.

Among the “Verkäuflich” objects, the VirginBZ.1938.62. (here the upper l hand photo. pasted on a card on which there are 5 other photos; you have an older, larger one of her) is the only one I’d go for, but I do like her immensely. Volbach likes the stag relief.Stags and vase relief, probably marble. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1:pl. 122 and 2:148, no. 130. I’m not particularly fond of it, but it’s a good Ravenna object of the VII, & they’re rare. And I like the well-head,This well-head is not catalogued in Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993). No 12, which is as good as that in the next lot.A column capital; the capital is not catalogued in Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993).

Among the “Gemeinsamen Besitz” objects, there are quite a lot which I like, & which would make a valuable acquisition for your collection, but I think it would perhaps be well to let Prince L. a) clear up the position with his own family b) have a few disappointments with dealers, as to price, before proceeding further. Volbach also, I think, has rather exaggerated ideas of their value, at present. But they are of very great interest, all the same, & one will probably never see their like again. Those I care for are:

4 reliefs,Four chancel barrier reliefs or revetment plaques, eighth–ninth century, Schloss Glienicke, Potsdam-Berlin. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1:pls. 43–46 and 2:37, 42, 58–59, and 64–65, nos. 20, 25, 41, and 44. photos clipped together

1 relief,Relief sculpture with the Tree of Life and three pairs of animals and birds, third quarter of the twelfth century, marble, Schloss Glienicke, Potsdam-Berlin. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1:pl. 59b and 2:73, no. 52. “Zierstein mit vogeln und Tieren”“Ornamental stone with birds and animals.” Röm 116 x 42 (2 photos of this, one tiny, other enlarged): very fine indeed, lovely in fact, & rarissime.“Very rare.”

No. 14 Well-headWell-head, Venetian, first quarter of the eleventh century, sandstone, Schloss Glienicke, Potsdam-Berlin. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1: pl. 18 and 2:23–27, no. 11. (Brunnen“Well head.”), very fine.

15 “Zierstein im Inneren der Kapelle”“Ornamental stone inside the chapel.” Possibly a fragment of a chancel barrier, marble, Schloss Glienicke, Potsdam-Berlin. This relief is not catalogued in Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993).

17 “Reiter mit Kreuz”Rider with cross, Constantinople, mid-tenth century, marble, Schloss Glienicke, Potsdam-Berlin. See Gerd-H. Zuchold, Der “Klosterhof” des Prinzen Karl von Preussen im Park von Schloss Glienicke in Berlin (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993), 1:pl. 63 and 2:67–69, no. 47.

I’ll keep in touch & see what happens about these things. The only urgent front is the Virgin,BZ.1938.62. & I’d be glad if you’d give me a pointer about her (i.e. your wishes). I’m afraid one would have to pay as much, or nearly as much, as for the Emp.,BZ.1937.23. but one might start talking at much less. Good for Prince L’s soul.

It is infinitely distressing to see Edith fading away. Elisina is standing it well, but she looks pretty thin, & I’m a bit anxious. But, at this time, she couldn’t stand being anywhere else. As you may imagine, there are constantly questions coming up about the place at St. Brice, the place at Hyères, which it would be extremely dangerous to have Edith worried about, but which would fatally be taken to her if Elisina were not here. As it is, Edith is quiet & happy & comfortable, bit suffering, not worrying.

I’ll try to see Mrs. GayMatilda Travers Gay, wife of Walter Gay. on my way to Antigny.

Much love to you both.

Yrs

R. T.

 
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères