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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, May 10, 1928

Ministry of Finance,

The object represented by the enclosed photograph,This photograph, if still extant, is unknown. dearest Mildred, isn’t for sale, unfortunately, but I thought you would like to see it. (Keep it, if you want it.) It arrived at the Museum here on the day I got your delightful long letter,This letter apparently was not preserved. so Fettich got, within one hour, the finest Scythian stagStag, Scythian, sixth century BCE, gold, 25.0 x 22.0 cm, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest; found in Zöldhalompuszta, Mezőkeresztes, Hungary, in 1928. that has yet been found anywhere, and $250 for his trip to Russia.The $250 was likely from the Blisses. He was a very happy Fettich. But of course he’s a young cannibal, cares for nothing and no one outside his work and has no more gratitude than a cat. All this rather endears him to me; I don’t think I’ve ever seen such complete absorption in archaeology as his, at any rate not in a healthy, strong boy, which he still is (aet. 25). He’s leaving for Russia in a few days, and expects this time to get to Minusinsk.Minusinsk, a town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. He’ll be there all summer.

It is very dear and kind of you to remember our photographic library fund,Elisina Tyler established an archive of photographs of Byzantine objects; the project was partly funded by contributions solicited by Mildred Barnes Bliss. See also letters of May 7, 1927; November 20, 1927; January 30, 1929; February 28, 1929 [2]; March 11, 1929; and March 29, 1929 [1]. and to subscribe to it. We are constantly enlarging our collection, which I have no doubt is by now much the largest collection of photos, on Byz. and allied subjects in private hands—and I doubt whether its like exists, in easily consultable form, in many public institutions. We must have upwards of 10,000 photos already, but of course there are quantities missing. From Russia we have very little, but thanks to your generosity I hope Fettich, who is on good personal terms with the museum people there, will be able to get us prints of the large numbers of negatives they have, and even arrange to have other things photographed. But he’s quite capable of forgetting all about us once he sinks his teeth in the Scythian material.

Your letter is a great joy, and it tells me any number of things I was longing to know. When I’ve answered it, point by point, Elisina shall have a lick, and when Edith returns from SpainIn May 1928, Edith Wharton was in Spain with the American author Margaret “Daisy” Chanler née Terry (1862–1952). she may have a glimpse.

Yes, I know Jud SüssJud Süss, a 1925 novel by the German-Jewish playwright and novelist Lion Feuchtwanger (1884–1958). It was a partly fictional version of the life of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer (1698–1738), a German-Jewish financier.—but as I have had my being for four years among Jud Süsse, Feuchtwanger’sLion Feuchtwanger (1884–1958), a German writer. picture pales rather next to the reality that enchants my gaze. A great day it was when, after a long conference between Smith and me, on one side, and the credit-seeking magnates of the building-trade, on the other, one of those magnates (all Hebrews) put his hand on my shoulder, looked me searchingly in eye, and said ‘Niemand in der Familie?’“Nobody in the family?”

I want very much to see the collections in the USA. What I see of their buying on this side doesn’t impress me favourably, most of it, but of course I see only a little.

By the way, if you can spare the time, would you send some notes on collections containing Byz. or allied stuff (and perhaps cards to owners) to Hayford Peirce, 214 Cedar St., Bangor, Me.? He is coming over for a few weeks this summer, but will have to go back again later. I hope he’ll eventually be able to spend 3/4 of his time over here, but while his father lives he’ll have to go back for several months every year. He has been having great fun with the Museum people, and with old Goldschmidt,Adolph Goldschmidt (1863–1944), a medieval art historian and teacher. In 1914, Goldschmidt published the first of three inventories of medieval ivories in the western world (Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der Zeit der karolingischen und sächischen Kaiser, VIII.–VI. Jahrhundert, 4 vols [Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1914–1926]), dealing with an art form whose objects were heretofore poorly documented. In 1927–1928, Goldschmidt was teaching on sabbatical at Harvard University; he would teach there again in 1930–1931. With his student Kurt Weitzmann, he published Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.–XIII. Jahrhunderts, 2 vols (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1930–1934). who is pretty good. Hayford took Goldschmidt to a prize fight. Goldsch: ‘How do they choose the partners?’ I’m very curious to know what enamel Goldsch. is offering.The meaning of this reference is unclear. Very confidentially, they’ve approached Hayford with a suggestion that he enter the Boston Mus., but he wouldn’t dream of it. My impression is that they are abysmally ignorant on our subjects, but good on Egyptian and, to some extent, Chinese.

I’m enclosing another copy of our paper on Romanus II.Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler, “Deux mouvements dans l’art byzantin du Xe siècle,” Aréthuse 16 (July 1927): 129–36. Our thesis has now been formally accepted by Goldschmidt,The published acceptance came later in Adolph Goldschmidt and Kurt Weitzmann, Die byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.–XIII. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1934), 2:15. Delbrueck,Hans Delbrück (1848–1929), a German historian. Falke,Otto Falke (1862–1942), an art historian and museum director. In 1920, he became general director of Berlin Museums, a post he held until his retirement in 1927. After retirement, von Falke founded and published the journal Pantheon. Wulff,Oskar Wulff (1864–1946), an art historian, theoretician, and professor in Berlin. Rosenberg, Millet;Gabriel Millet (1867–1953), a scholar of aesthetics, Byzantine art history, and medieval archaeology. Beginning in 1899, he gave his photographic art documentation to the École Pratique des Hautes Études at the Sorbonne, Paris; in 1903, he created the so-called Christian and Byzantine Collection of more than 2,000 photographic plates, prints on paper, engravings, and watercolors. This collection would become the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University under Charles Rufus Morey in 1917. and even Diehl, who made the 1067 date the cardinal point of his disquisition on later Byz. ivories in the 2nd ed. of his great work (1925),Charles Diehl, Manuel d’art byzantin, 2nd ed. (Paris: A. Picard, 1925), 660. has gone so far as to say, in writing, that we are ‘très vraisemblablement’ right. Not that it matters what he says.

I hear they have invited WilpertJoseph Wilpert (1857–1944), a German art historian and archaeologist. to lecture in the US next year. It’s perfectly ludicrous to pay any attention to him, but it seems the Princeton school is impressed by him. Old Goldschmidt, who really does know a lot, hasn’t taken on much over there, it seems. Eric Maclagan has, I gather, found it very interesting lecturing at Harvard,In 1927–1928, Eric Maclagan was appointed Charles Eliot professor at Harvard University. and has had a great success. He is just about due back in London. He has taken the opportunity to profit by American dental prothesis, and have his tusks all straightened out. To me, always sensitive to the beauty of ugliness, this is a pity; as if the bull-dog tried to cultivate a Greek profile. I liked those upward-curling tusks. Mrs. SearsMrs. Joshua Montgomery (Sarah Choate) Sears (1858–1935), Royall Tyler’s godmother. however, was enthusiastic: ‘a very nice-looking man, now.’

Your invitation to come to B. Aires is very tempting. I don’t at all know what I shall be doing next year, and it’s conceivable I might be able to. But I can’t tell any time ahead. There are some things that may develop between now and then—but it’s all too vague and complicated to enter into now.

How amusing about my dear old friend Ramiro de Maeztu!Ramiro de Maeztu y Whitney (1875–1936), a Spanish political theorist, journalist, literary critic, and diplomat who served as the Spanish ambassador to Argentina in 1928. Give him my love. I hope he’ll write to me. He is solid gold, and very intelligent indeed. I’ve never seen his wife. You know he is half English.

I’m being urged to go back to Greece this summer, and may do it. I’d like to—except that it means I can see very little of Bill, and he’s growing so fast that I loathe missing an opportunity to be with him. And I can’t have him and Elisina out there in summer; the heat really is too fearful. I am apparently alone in not minding it. I’d be rather afraid for a growing boy, too, there’s any amount of illness about.

Bill didn’t win the Shakespeare medal,See letter of November 20, 1927. but he did win another prize, and has just been given his VI form privileges, a rare honour for a boy who hasn’t yet been, four years at Harrow. It means he now has a fagA fag is a student at a British public school who is required to perform menial tasks for a student (the fag-master) in a higher class.—and nothing more to look forward to except being a school monitor and head of his house, which can’t in any event be for some time yet.Royall Tyler reports in his letter of January 30, 1929, that William Royall Tyler became a monitor, “one of the 20 boys who rule the 675 at Harrow.” He is doing very well all round, and loves Harrow.

I’m so glad that PhideasPhidias (ca. 480–430 BCE), a Greek sculptor, painter, and architect who created the statue of Zeus at Olympia (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the statue of Athena for the Parthenon in Athens. leaves you cold. I found him even less exciting in the Parthenon Museum, where there’s so much of him, than he is when one comes across an isolated fragment in Europe; and that’s not saying much.

‘Living as the Greeks do’ in summer merely means that one eats hardly any meat, drinks very little wine and no spirits, but little cups of coffee and big glasses of (not iced) water at short intervals, strips and lies down on one’s bed for an hour or two after lunch, and doesn’t walk until towards sunset, at earliest. The English and Americans go and bathe in the sea and play golf and tennis, and most of them get something serious the matter with them.

EddyCharles B. Eddy, chairman of the Greek Refugee Settlement Commission of the League of Nations between 1926 and 1930. See also Charles B. Eddy, Greece and the Greek Refugees (London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1931). is a curious person; but he’s doing well, I think. He is intoxicated with Greece, has learned to speak Greek and now knows for the first time in his experience what it is to be alive.

I’ll try to get you a set of the photos of the Nagy St. Miklos treasure.The Nagy St. Miklos (Nagyszentmiklós) treasure, a collection of twenty-three early medieval gold vessels, variously dated between the sixth and tenth centuries, found in 1799 in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, in the Habsburg Empire (modern Sânnicolau Mare, Romania). The treasure was transferred to the Imperial Collection (now Kunsthistorisches Museum), Vienna. It isn’t very good stuff artistically;See also letter of February 8, 1926: “My considered opinion now is that the Nagy St. Miklos stuff is not first rate as art.” I don’t think it’s digested—just motives borrowed and stuck on as on a ‘Gothic’ house in the rue Ampere. But of course it’s a marvellous document.

We speak of the Madara relief in our Encycl. Brit. article,The “Madara Horseman” is a large rock relief carved on the Madara Plateau east of Shuman in northeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Madara. The relief is now generally dated to ca. 710 CE and to the reign of the Bulgar khan Tervel (ca. 695–718), suggesting that the horseman portrays Tervel thrusting a spear into a lion. The image may also represent the Bulgar god Tangra, an image type based on the Thracian Hero God. The inscriptions probably date to the Tervel, Krum (796–814), and Omurtag (814–831) periods. The “Madara Horseman” may commemorate Tervel’s 708 victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Anchialus. See Veselin Beshevliev, Die protobulgarische Periode der bulgarischen Geschichte (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1981), 191–203. In 811, the emperor Nikephoros I invaded Bulgaria and sacked the capital Pliska, defeating Krum. On Nikephoros’s retreat, however, Krum ambushed the Byzantine army in the mountains, and Nikephoros was killed in the battle. See letter of October 24, 1927 [1], for Royall Tyler’s impressions of the “Madara Horseman” during his journey with Hayford Peirce to Bulgaria and Istanbul. of course, but can’t reproduce it because no decent photo. has been taken so far. I’ll have an off-print of the article made, when the final proofs have come in, and send it to you.

The benighted Bulgars who swore by all holy that they would photo. and send us the Philippopoli VirginThe Virgin Elleusa, fourteenth century, bronze, Regional Archaeological Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. didn’t keep their word (they want to be first to publish it, never having looked at it till we came along) and now God has punished them with the earthquake,Two destructive earthquakes (M=6.8 and M=7.0) occurred on April 14 and 18, 1928, near the city of Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria. and I haven’t been able yet to find out whether the Virgin in the Mus. has been saved or not. I hope those in charge of Byz. works of art the world over will take warning from the destruction of Philippopoli, and give us photos. when we want them. For inst. Walters of Baltimore, who won’t allow any of his things to be photod.

Ch. WilsonCharles Stetson Wilson (1873–1947), the U.S. minister to Bulgaria from 1921 to 1928. has been about Bulgaria a good deal—though not after the things we saw—and I think he likes being there. He is very much appreciated by the Boulgres.Presumably Royall Tyler means the Bulgarians, but the normal French word is Bulgares. The more obscure Boulgres can have a more pejorative connotation.

I have entrusted to Fettich a photo. of the IsbirianThe Parisian dealer Isbirian has not been identified. In the letter of November 3, 1928, his address is given as 31, rue Saint-Lazare, Paris, and his telephone number as Trudaine 71.01. dish, with measurements and weight, and he has sworn to me that he will do his utmost to clear up the Strog.Stroganoff. Count Grigorij Sergeevich Stroganoff (1829–1910), a connoisseur and collector of paintings and objects of many cultures. Stroganoff had homes in Rome, Paris, and Saint Petersburg. mystery.

The proofs of the Encycl. Brit. articleThis entry on Byzantine art was published in the 1929 fourteenth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. have just this moment arrived, and I’ll have to interrupt this letter while I attend to them, as they are marked urgent. (Naturally, the bastards have had our MS since Feb. 1, but can’t be bothered to set up the type until the last moment, quitte à“Thus.” being in the deuce of a hurry with the proofs. They’re all the same.)

Later. I’ve got the proofs off, and will proceed.

No, I don’t get the Metropolitan Bulletin, and would like very much to see it.

I don’t know what has happened about the Chaldean statues.See letter of January 5, 1928. I really hadn’t time to go and see Feuardent when I was in Paris, unfortunately.

When I’m next in Paris, I’ll see Brummer and feel about re the diorite head.This diorite head has not been identified. See also letters of May 3, 1927 and May 4, 1927. I feel with you that as sculpture it isn’t of the finest quality, but as material it is un-heard-of outside the Cairo Mus., and even as sculpture it is not to be sneezed at. However—

I’ll try and get you a superlative hard stone vase. There was one, very smooth and very noble, black porphyry—but Hayford has eaten it.

I don’t very much like Bode’sWilhelm von Bode (1845–1929), a German art historian and the first curator of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, now the Bode Museum, Berlin,in 1904. bottleThis bottle has not been identified. from the photo. Do you?

I haven’t seen any of the Glozel objectsIn 1924, a seemingly prehistoric burial was discovered in Glozel, France, near Vichy. In 1926, Salomon Reinach (1858–1932), curator of the National Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, excavated at the site and affirmed its authenticity as well as the authenticity of its artifacts to the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, although others had claimed they were forgeries. See David Riesman, “Glozel: A Mystery,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 69, no. 1 (1930): 193–202; and Alice Gerard, Glozel: Bones of Contention (New York:, 2005). except in poor reproductions, but I should be vastly astonished if those owl-head vases were genuine. Salomon ReinachSalomon Reinach (1858–1932), a French archaeologist and curator of the National Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. is so often wrong that the very fact of his championing the stuff makes me doubt it. Anyway, most of that neolithic stuff, even genuine, is so ugly and uninteresting that I can’t get up much excitement about it.

How BenakiAntonis Benakis (1873–1954), a Greek collector in Alexandria who established the Benaki Museum in Athens in 1930 with a collection of more than 37,000 Islamic and Byzantine objects. got his things out of Egypt I don’t know, but I imagine it was by greasing the palms of the Egyptians.

That Venus of Cyrene yarn is always cropping up in the press. I suppose they mean the object now in the Terme in Rome:“The Venus of Cyrene,” a Roman copy of the fourth-century BCE sculpture by Praxiteles was discovered in Cyrene on the coast of Libya in 1913 and taken to the Museo delle Terme in Rome. It remained there until 2008, when it was returned to Libya by court order. See Ernest A. Gardner, “A Aphrodite from Cyrene,” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 40, pt. 2 (1920): 203–5. a most offensively pompier“Pretentious.” thing of the florid Greek period, not florid enough to be amusing. I haven’t seen the Correggio.Antonio Allegri da Correggio (1489–1534), an Italian Renaissance painter. The painting by Correggio that Royall Tyler refers to is possibly Portrait of a Man, ca. 1520, oil on canvas, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, inv. nr. 102 (1928.2). Formerly attributed to El Greco, the painting was acquired in 1928 as a Correggio by the collector Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875–1947).

You might get Borovka’s recent ‘Scythian Art’ published by Benn.Grigorïi Borovka, Scythian Art (London: Benn, 1928). The Blisses acquired this book; it remains in the research library at Dumbarton Oaks. It’s very good indeed, I think, and contains some things new to me, the spoils of the Russ. Govt. expedition to Mongolia of 1924.See Kamilla Vasilevna Trever, Excavations in Northern Mongolia, 1924–1925 (Leningrad, 1932).

When I was in C’ple, Joe GrewJoseph Clark Grew (1880–1965), a diplomat and career foreign service officer who was the U.S. ambassador to Turkey between 1927 and 1932. had only just arrived there, and I haven’t seen him since, but he seemed very well, far less deaf than I remembered him from 1920.

Hayford writes that he’s only found one person over there who has a real grasp of Byzantine, and that is Newell (of the N.Y. Numismatic Soc.)Edward T. Newell (1886–1941), an American numismatist and president of the American Numismatic Society between 1916 and 1941. See Charles C. Torrey, “Edward T. Newell in Memoriam,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 82 (April 1941): 2. who has a collection of coins of very great value,Newell’s collection—consisting of more than 87,000 coins—was considered to be the largest private collection of Greek coins. Upon his death, Newell bequeathed the collection to the American Numismatic Society. and has the subject at his fingers ends. Quite young, and very enthusiastic and delightful.

Yes, I was very sorry about Archie Coolidge’s death.Archibald Cary Coolidge (1866–1928), an American educator who was professor of history at Harvard College from 1908 and who became the first director of the Harvard University Library in 1910. I was fond of him.

It is most angelic of you to think of the ‘O.L.P.’ and the Photo. Library.“Old Lady Photographer.” Elisina Tyler established an archive of photographs of Byzantine objects; the project was partly funded by contributions solicited by Mildred Barnes Bliss. See also letters of May 7, 1927; November 20, 1927; January 30, 1929; February 28, 1929 [2]; March 11, 1929; and March 29, 1929. If there is an O.L.P. understanding enough to grasp that contributions, to be of use to us, wd. have to be free of conditions as to manner of employment, it would be of very great help to us, and we wd. be able to complete our documentation in much less time than it will take us, devoting as we now are to it as much as we can afford year by year. But come what may, we hope to aboutir.“Go ahead.” Hayford’s passion is burning higher, apparently, every day that passes.

This letter is worse than yours already; my only excuse is that part of it is taken up by answers to questions in yours.

The Kellogg non-renunciation proposal is making its way.Frank Billings Kellogg (1856–1937), an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who at the time was the U.S. secretary of state. In response to negotiations with French prime minister Aristide Briand, he submitted a plan for the renunciation of war as a national instrument of foreign policy. This note became the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, for which Kellogg was awarded the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize. The French answer was bad, of course—it might perhaps have been less bad if BriandAristide Briand (1862–1932), a statesman who served eleven terms as prime minister of France during the French Third Republic and was a colaureate of the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize. hadn’t been ill at the time. The British answer isn’t out yet, but though I don’t much like the tone of Chamberlain’sArthur Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940), a British Conservative politician who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom between 1937 and 1940. remarks on the subject in the H. of L.“House of Lords.” yesterday, I’m pretty confident that there is so much support for the Kellogg plan in English public opinion, irrespective of party (though of course the support is not strongest on the Conservative side) that even the present Govt. will have to line up. Here, attention is engrossed by matters nearer the ground.

Do I gather from you that you only intend going to the US when you go on leave late this year? That is a blow, if so it is. Please let me know when you do go on leave, exactly, and whether you are coming to Europe.

The BarclaysSir Colville Adrian de Rune Barclay (1869–1929), a British diplomat in Hungary between 1924 and 1928 and an ambassador to Portugal in 1928–1929. His wife was Lady Barclay (née Sarita Enriqueta Ward). will be much regretted here. I don’t know their successors, the Chilstons,Aretas Akers-Douglas, 2nd Viscount Chilston (1876–1947), the British ambassador to Hungary between 1928 and 1933. He married Amy Jennings-Bramly in 1903. but Elisina does and likes them very much. However, word has gone round here that Chilston is not gemütlich.“Friendly.” He might be gemütlich, quite gemütlich, and yet be ungemütlich in comparison with Barclay, whom everyone is very fond of. LisbonBarclay (1869–1929) was appointed British ambassador to Portugal in 1928. will certainly be better than this place from the point of view or her health.

Goodbye, dearest Mildred, and my blessings for your letter, which was a real talk. Love to you both.

R. T.

I thought of you when I saw the result of the Arg. presidential election.The Argentine presidential election, held on April 1, 1928, elected Hipólito Yrigoyen (1852–1933) of the Radical Civil Union party.

Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary)
Associated Things: Feuardent Frères