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Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, December 1, 1938

December 1st, 1938

Dear Royall,

Weeks have passed without my writing you, much to my regret. Even at present I can only send you off a very brief line in answer to one or two matters about which you have written me, aside from the affairs of Doro Levi, to which latter matter I shall not be able to more than touch upon.

From my cable of November 25 you will have realized that your letter of November 15th had been received with the photographs of the “Makridy”Theodore Makridy (Macridy) (1872–1940), a Turkish archaeologist and curator who was the founding director of the Benaki Museum in Athens (1931–1940); he was the former keeper (1872–1931) of the Greek and Byzantine department and the assistant director (1925–1930) of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. ivory.Wing of a triptych with the Archangel Gabriel and the bust of Saint Paul, tenth century, ivory, Benaki Museum, Athens, inv. no. 10399. The ivory was donated to the Benaki Museum in 1939 by Stephanos and Penelope Delta. Reportedly, it was acquired from someone named Tozakoglu. See Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections (Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Benaki Museum, 2013), 158–59, no. 76. We both think it very beautiful and exceptionally fine,—and are eagerly awaiting news from you in the hope that BenakiAntonis Benakis (1873–1954), a Greek collector and founder of the Benaki Museum in Athens in 1930. will decide not to take it. We should be overjoyed to have it come to Dumbarton Oaks. As requested by you, I am returning the photographs herewith.

As regards the letter from Kalebdjian, which you forwarded in an undated oneThe whereabouts of this letter are unknown. (presumably mailed October 28th), it would be interesting to have Kaleb send further particulars regarding the pre-Colombian [sic] collection of textiles,These Pre-Columbian textiles have not been identified. (if possible photographs) giving the number of pieces, their sizes, etc. I doubt if we would be interested in the bronze bust of Annius VerusThis bronze bust of Annius Verus has not been identified. and certainly not in the fifteenth century bronze figurine of a child.This figurine has not been identified. As for the fourth item “un ensemble de forts beaux meubles italiens du XVI siècle”“A set of extremely beautiful Italian furniture of the 16th century.” This furniture has not been identified. we are not now looking for furniture. However, the fifteenth century Savoyard cofferIn a letter from Kalebdjian Frères to Robert Woods Bliss, dated December 23, 1938, the Savoyard chest is described as Gothic, ca. 1500, with sculpted panels, 97 cm high x 160 cm wide x 57 cm deep. Byzantine Collection, Kalebdjian correspondence file. might be of interest, but we can only tell if Kaleb will send photographs and details. Of the other pieces he could always send photographs and we can think about them, why not? Kaleb’s letter is returned herewith.

At the Lord KitchenerHoratio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener (1850–1916), known as Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, a British archaeologist and military field marshal. Kitchener was the director of the official survey of Cyprus for the new British administration of the island. He organized a series of excavations at Salamis, Gastria, and Kourion in association with the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), who provided financial support. The museums in Edinburgh and Dublin also received a share of the finds. The work was carried out by Gordon Hake. saleSee The Celebrated Collections Formed by Field Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum (Sotheby and Co., 1938). The sale was held in November 1938. there was one stone headThis stone head has not been identified. for which your son and heir made a bid! But the object went to SpinkSpink & Son, London, an auction house that principally deals with coins and paper money. at a bid of £5 above the limit William set.

Added in longhand:

The Doro matter is a long story. I have not time to go into it now. His exact salary at Princeton is not definitely determined but will be adequate for his needs (and his wife). I shall eventually explain when I wrote [sic] you the details. I had luncheon with BetbilThe Bliss abbreviation for Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. ten days ago; they are comfortably settled in a good little house with a small garden, ideal for RoyallRoyall Tyler (b. 1936), the first child of Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler, was born in London. After earning a BA in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University and a PhD in Japanese literature from Columbia University, he became a scholar and translator of Japanese literature. He presently lives in Australia in New South Wales.—whom we call Minimus!—and are both very happy. They come to us for Christmas.

Love from us both


Associated People: Doro Levi
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères