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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, May 9, 1931


Dearest Mildred—A nuisance—about which I’m afraid I must tell you.

Mr. Russell,Ellis Russell, Robert Woods Bliss’s secretary in New York. in a letter to me dated Feb. 13, said that he had told the Fogg Museum people that they would receive from me instructions as to insurance etc of the Coptic Tapestry.

On Feb. 28 I wrote to the Secretary of the Fogg telling him that he would get instructions from Duthuit, the Sec. of the Byz. Exhibition.

Instead of acting in consultation with Duthuit, the Fogg people insured the tapestry themselves, and only informed Duthuit after they had done so. And even then they didn’t tell him the conditions. Yesterday, only, a letter arrived from them containing a bill from a Boston shipper for $2,200 for insurance and carriage Boston-Paris. Without counting anything for insurance during the show, that makes $4,400 (Frs. 110,000.) for carriage and insurance on the journey. The Boston shipper sends no insurance policy—simply a lump sum charge covering both insurance and carriage.

Now, the rate charged by this Boston shipper (I blush) is 77% higher than the Arts Décs,Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris. are paying on a Toulouse-Lautrec lent by Chicago to the Exhibition now in progress at the Arts Décs. Not unnaturally, the Arts Décs, people suspect the Boston shipper of having made a large rake-off for himself. They are sending for his agent here, and are going to try to get a large reduction. At the rate the Boston shipper is charging, the expenses on the tapestry would amount to about one half of what the Arts Décs, had estimated as the total cost of the show.

In order to make myself perfectly clear, let me specify that the charge for the tapestry is 77% higher than on the Lautrec in percentages—nothing to do with the respective value of the two objects, the tapestry being valued at $80,000, and the Lautrec at $21,000.

I’m distressed to have to bother you with all this, and of course there’s nothing you can do about it, but I thought it was proper to let you know the facts.

Metman is ahuri,“Thunderstruck.” as the unexpected measure of our success in obtaining loans has swelled the amount that will have to be raised to cover insurance etc. Of course it is impossible to tell beforehand what success our Show will have, i.e. what gate money will amount to. The Lautrec show is a tearing success. They are raking in 6000 to 7000 francs daily, and double that on Sundays.

Much love, dearest Mildred

R. T.

I’m frantically busy with the CatalogueExposition internationale d’art byzantin, 28 mai–9 juillet 1931 (Paris: Musée des arts décoratifs, 1931). of the Show. Preface for the Catalogue, articles for the Press etc. Also this Spanish revolutionThe Jaca Revolt against the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera on December 12, 1930. Although the uprising was suppressed, it led to the Second Spanish Republic four months later. has come just at the wrong moment, as all the people with whom I had made arrangements are now out, and it’s got to be done over again with their successors.

Associated People: Georges Duthuit; Louis Metman
Associated Things: Byzantine Exhibition of 1931
Associated Artworks: BZ.1929.1