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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 13, 1936

Hôtel de Crillon

Place de la Concorde



Dear Robert.

Further about that enamelGoldene Tafel. affair,See letter of November 6, 1936. it occurs to me that you might do well to stall for a bit. Things are getting very difficult in that country, & I shouldn’t be surprised if before very long there were some changes in that quarter, such as might mean that someone with the dollars ready might get that object for a very much smaller price than anything mentioned heretofore.

As I told you, I’m not breathlessly enthusiastic about that particular object anyway. I wonder whether, supposing things do evolve as I think they may, you might not have a chance of getting the Limburg stavrothekReliquary of the True Cross (Staurotheke), Byzantine, ca. 960, gold, gems, and enamel, Cathedral Museum, Limburg an der Lahn. for not more than you’ve been asked for the other. The Limburg stavrothek, to my mind, is worth incalculably more than the other, & indeed contains the finest enamels I’ve ever seen—even finer (& more of them) than the Holy Crown in Hungary.The Holy Crown of Hungary, also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, the twelfth-century gold coronation crown of the kingdom of Hungary that employs Byzantine enamels as part of its design.

Perhaps if you’ve got someone you think has good connexions in that country you might consider making a survey of the position. Or if you wanted me to try, I might be able to do so—though I’d probably not be as efficient as someone of the trade . . . Perhaps DreyThe firm of A. S. Drey was founded in Munich in the 1860s by Aaron S. Drey. The firm later expanded to London and New York. In New York, Aaron Drey’s grandson, Paul Drey (1885–1953), was a senior partner of the Paul Drey Gallery, founded in 1920. himself? Or perhaps Volbach, who comes from that part & has lots of connexions there? I think Volbach might be able to do it, & if he pulled it off & made some money, God knows he needs it. If you’d rather not write him, I could, if you desired, run down to Rome sometime & talk to him about it. I think he’s trustworthy. Please let me know if you want me to do anything.

I lunched with the Gays today. Mathilda in great form, & Walter—tho’ no doubt a bit weaker—apparently less distressed than he was a year ago. He’s had to stop trying to paint, poor pet.

I’m going over to London to see my grandsonRoyall 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.???? Well, these things happen. Then back here for a couple of days, & to Pest for Xmas.

Things are improving in France, I believe, & I’m impenitently hopeful that the big crash is not yet.

Love to Mildred—all good Xmas & New Years wishes to you both.


R. T.

Associated Places: Paris (France)