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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 10, 1938


Dearest Mildred, I’ve just had your letter of July 29th.

You’ll have had the photos of Kelek’s sapphire blue ewerThis molded blue glass ewer has not been identified. and the buff-glazed potBZ.1939.31.—the latter an unflattering photo. Yes, they are good objects, but the more I think of them, the more one:

Cuanto más las oye

Cuanto más las mira,

Más las aborrece,

Más se escandaliza.“The longer people listen to them / The longer people look at them / The more they hate them / The more they are scandalized.”

I hope I’m not wrong, but I do not think there’s any danger that Kelek will get any such prices for them elsewhere. I decidedly would let him stew, not ask him to sweet coffee,See letter of July 29, 1938. and see what befalls. If he talks to me, I’ll tell him, with complete candour, that I’m afraid he has made too big a noise.

Were it to please God, in His wisdom, to call Kelek to Him, I think young KelekDikran G. Kelekian’s son, Charles Dikran Kelekian (1900–1982). Charles Kelekian was born in Marseilles, France, and was educated in France. He joined his father in business in 1919, and worked at both the Paris and New York galleries. Eventually, he headed the New York gallery at 667 Madison Avenue, with his daughter, Nanette Rodney Kelekian. would be much more reasonable. Ten thousand for the two is my idea, rather than what the old man asks—and if you agree, I’d adopt a stony face on this question. The glass ewer is a pretty toy, but it’s only just within your realm, if at all, and I feel that now is the time to show fight. Really, 20 for MadBZ.1938.62. and 35 for that trinket, c’est le monde à l’envers.“It’s an upside-down world.”

I hope you got a squeeze of the HirschJacob Hirsch (1874–1955), a German-Swiss numismatist, archaeologist, and antiquities dealer. medallionThis gold medallion of Honorius has not been identified. before leaving—but if you didn’t, never mind. There are as good, and quite as good, fish of that sort in the sea. If you really want that sort of thing, tell Hayford to look out for them. He gets notice from Spink,Spink & Son, London, an auction house that principally deals with coins and paper money. Feuardent, Baldwin,Baldwin’s, a numismatics dealer in London that was established by A. H. Baldwin (1858–1936) in 1872. etc of everything there is going in that line, and knows all about the prices.

Alas, you didn’t (sauf erreur)“If I’m not mistaken.” tell me to cable Milrobert as from 7 etc, and I cabled Milrob on the 8th about the KhawamKhawam Brothers, an antiquities business that was founded in Cairo in 1862 by Sélim Khawam. stuff.BZ.1938.64–65, BZ.1938.66, and BZ.1938.67. I’m telling Kaleb to make Khawam hold his hand till your reply comes along. I hope you take that lot.

I was very happy to get your cable telling me of the receipt of MAD.BZ.1938.62. The delay fixed for the Emp.BZ.1937.23. was 2 years from date of purchase (Aug. ‘37), and I fear we’ll have to be content with that. Perhaps GothaSee letters of April 8, 1937; April 8, 1937; April 9, 1937; April 9, 1937; April 16, 1937; April 16, 1937; 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; November 23, 1937; December 13, 1937; February 28, 1938; March 31, 1938; July 10, 1938; July 29, 1938; August 16, 1938; December 20, 1938; and January 3, 1939. may fall in in time to be No. 1; but I’m well content with the Elephant tamer,BZ.1927.1. personally. It’s a textile of the very first quality, and of huge interest and significance—and more virginal than Gotha, seeing that Gotha has already been published by Gogo.Adolph Goldschmidt (1863–1944), a Jewish German art historian. Tyler’s nickname for him was Gogo.

Hayford and I will work on the Emp.BZ.1937.23. and Mad,BZ.1938.62. so as to be ready when the time comes.Peirce and Tyler published the Emperor Roundel (BZ.1937.23) in “A Marble Emperor, Roundel of the XIIth Century,” in Three Byzantine Works of Art, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 2 (1941): 1, 3–9. They did not publish the Virgin relief (BZ.1938.62). And believe me, they have their little problems, they too.

I should have been happy to figure alone on D.O. No. 1—but in the circumstances I think Hayford must be associated. I know you’ll understand.

Elisina is getting on as well as one can expect. I try to spend at least 24 hours with her each week-end, and I’m pleased with her rate of progress. If only she doesn’t feel she’s getting on so well as to encourage her to overdo it again.

She is very happy about Bill’s new prospects,William Royall Tyler was interested in enrolling in the museum studies program at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. He was offered the position of unremunerated assistant with post-graduate tuition free. as I am, also. Bill is shortly coming to Antigny, to stay there till he sails. Betsy a bit later. I’m sure Bill will do his best to secure an offer at the Fogg. Do you think it may be forthcoming for this time next year? I realise that you can’t give any assurance—so don’t trouble yourself about it. It is angelic of you to take pains about a house for him. As I cabled, he has got accommodation on the Franconia,The RMS Franconia, an ocean liner operated by the Cunard Line between 1922 to 1956. reaching Boston the 24th Sept. Betsy and the bratRoyall 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. will come later.

I shall have to ask Elisina about data etc. re Edith’s works. I know very little about them. She will be able to satisfy Mr. Girodie,André Girodie (1874–1946?), a curator of the Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine (National Museum of Franco-American Cooperation), which was housed in the seventeenth-century château of Blérancourt in Aisne. no doubt.

I propose about a dozen repros. for the Elephant-TamerBZ.1927.1. paperHayford Peirce and Royall Tyler, “Elephant Tamer Silk, VIIIth Century,” in Three Byzantine Works of Art, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 2 (1941): 19–26.—and I think the photos ought to be reproduced à l’échelle.“To scale.” When reduced, (witness Princeton) they lose about 90% of their usefulness.

I’m more and more inclined to think there won’t be war this summer. MussbagsPossibly Tyler’s slang for Russians. would like to provoke one, no doubt, but FritzRoyall Tyler’s slang for “Germans.” isn’t so keen. It will take him a long time to absorb Austria. Very amusing, the RuncimanWalter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford (1870–1949), a British Liberal and National Liberal politician. mission:In 1938, British prime minister Neville Chamberlain sent Walter Runciman to Czechoslovakia to work out a settlement between the Czechoslovakian government and the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudentenland. neither Fritz nor the Czecho can make head or tail of it. I don’t suppose he’ll get a real agreement, but he may help to prevent an éclat.“Violent outbreak.”

I know the Regensburg weavingSee Otto von Falke, Kunstgeschichte der Seidenweberei (Berlin: Wasmuth, 1936), 2:no. 310, opp. p. 42. BurgDr. Hermann Burg, a dealer in London at 32 St. James Street. is offering. I didn’t mention it, (yes, I did mention it and sent photo: see my letter to Robert, of 13.XII.37, p. 2) because tho’ it’s good of it’s kind, I’m strongly against your attempting to illustrate, in the D.O. collection, the schools that imitated Byz.: an endless task. Keep your powder for straight Byz.: that’s my well-considered opinion. Important things will continue to come up.

Bless you, dearest Mildred. I hope Wyoming is kind.

R. T.

If I’m to have any chance of being able to join you on part, even, of your trip over here, it’s most important I should know your dates. I beg you cable me as soon as you can see clearly yourselves.

P.S. Let me have photos of StrigelHC.P.1930.04.(O). and Riemenschneider,HC.S.1937.006.(W). please, so that I may start F.Hermann Fiedler. The Blisses were interested in obtaining information on the provenance of objects in their collection in anticipation of publishing a catalogue. at work when the time comes.

Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères