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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, January 9, 1937

Finance Ministry


9th January 1937.

Dear Robert,

I have just had the letter a copy of which is enclosed from Eric Maclagen. I am asking him to send you a photograph of the spoonsBZ.1937.35–42. if he has got one. I saw them years ago, and as I remember they are very good. If you are not interested in Byzantine spoons, you might let me know so that I may tell Eric that he had better leave you out of his calculations.


R. T.



Victoria & Albert Museum

South Kensington

London S.W.7.

5 January 1937.

My dear Peter,Peter was Royall Tyler’s nickname.

You probably know the eight Early Christian silver spoonsBZ.1937.35–42. which are supposed to have been found with the Antioch chaliceThe Antioch “Chalice,” Byzantine, ca. 500–550, silver and silver-gilt, The Cloisters Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 50.4. and which have belonged for a good many years to GéjouIsaac Élias Géjou (d. 1939), an Armenian antiquities dealer in Paris. in Paris. He offered them to us in 1929 for £3,000 and we declined to consider them at that price; he has lately been writing to me again with some insistence urging us to make an offer for the spoons and implying that he would take a very much smaller price; as indeed he ought to.

But I do not feel inclined to try and buy all eight spoonsBZ.1937.35–42. for the Museum even if we could come to terms about the figure. You probably know them; is there a chance that Robert Bliss would be interested? As seven out of the eight spoons are identical except for the fact that each bears the name of a different Apostle, it occurs to me that if Bliss were attracted by them we might perhaps be able to make a joint deal.

But I really have no idea what sort of a figure Géjou has in his mind. He seems to be in a bad way as he has given up his telephone, which made it impossible for me to communicate with him when I was in Paris the other day.

Best wishes to you both for 1937.

Yours ever,

Eric Maclagan.

Associated People: Eric Maclagan
Associated Artworks: BZ.1937.35-42