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Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, June 17, 1940

June 17, 1940

Royall Tyler, Esquire

League of Nations

Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Royall,

The enclosedThe enclosed letter has not been located. came a few days ago from Maclagan. At the time he wrote (May 24) he apparently had not heard of your change of plans, so I am sending his letter to you.

In regard to the objects of the Eumo sale he said that the V. and A. were prepared to go up to £1500 (with the help of the National Art-Collection Fund) for the great Mosul flask.Canteen, Mosul or Syria, mid-thirteenth century, brass with silver inlay, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., acc. no. F1941.10. He also said that this was the only piece of any importance that the V. and A. were going to try for, but that the Fund was also interested in the great lustre dish,This dish has not been identified. though they could hardly make up their minds whether they would make a serious attempt to purchase it until after the sale of the Chinese collection. He added that if the Fund should decide not to touch it that he was proposing to cable this fact to me. Having had no cable I suppose the Fund raked it in. Maclagan seemed rather apprehensive of American competition which, because of the exchange, would give the U.S. buyers a great advantage.

Well, the sales are now all over and we shall be interested to learn some day what happened, who secured what object and how much was paid. In view of the war situation and the decided inroads made by contributing to various relief organizations, as well as the uncertainty of the position of the V. and A., we finally decided to make no attempt to in [sic] any of the objects at the Eumo sale.The Eumorfopoulos Collections: Catalogue of the Collection of Persian Ceramics & Islamic Glass, Egyptian, Greek and Roman Antiquities, Choice Medieval & Renaissance Works of Art, Etc. (London: Kitchen & Barratt, 1940). We may perhaps regret it, but what is regret for the loss of a Persian dish in these days? We are scarcely able to grasp the fact of what has happened within the last forty-eight hours;On June 14, 1940, the German Nazis entered Paris. it just does not seem possible. I wish we three were some place together at this moment and could let loose our ideas as to what is in store for the world.

Tonight I am going to New York and then on to Cambridge for Commencement, so I shall not be able to sign this nor to add anything more in view of what the news may bring us tonight. In fact, I am really sending this off in haste in an attempt to have Maclagan’s letter reach you without delay.

Affectionate messages from us both,

Yours ever,


Associated People: Eric Maclagan; George Eumorfopoulos
Associated Places: London (United Kingdom)