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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, September 18, 1929

21, Quai Bourbon
Gobelins 31–33

Dearest Mildred, I wired to you yesterday evening that I had seen Loo’s bronze,This bronze has not been identified. See Tch’ou To-yi, Bronzes antiques de la Chine appurtenant a C. T. Loo et cie (Paris and Brussels: Librairie nationale d'art et d'histoire, 1924). and that Mallon is away and I’ll see him when he returns.

Loo says he has sent you a photograph of the bronze, so I won’t attempt to describe its form or decoration. As to colour, it is the rather silvery-pewtery metal which we have often seen on Chinese mirrors, but never in a vase. It produces a curious, almost lunar effect, perhaps because one has the strong greens of all the other Chinese bronzes in one’s eye.

The metal, which Loo has not had analyzed, looks as if it were an alloy of tin, lead, silver and copper (and perhaps antimony). The copper has sweated out of the alloy, producing the familiar green-blue patina, but not by any means all over the surface.

The shape and decoration of the vase are very fine indeed; simple, strong and delicate. The chasing of the ground behind the birds is sharp and clear. The effect of the whole, with the pewtery-lunar colour, is most unexpected: I’ve never seen anything like it. Is it supremely beautiful, or is it astonishing, and not supremely beautiful? I find it impossible to make up my mind on a single sight of it, and I’m not sure that two or three visits would help me much—let alone divining whether you would like it.

Loo wants $27,000 for it, ($30,000—10% ‘for you’). I told him I’d wire to you suggesting you await my letter. He won’t dispose of it before hearing from you, but he asks you to cable him on receipt of my letter. His telegraphic address is Archaic.

I’m perhaps not in the most favourable mood for Chinese bronzes, being still under the impression of repeated visits to Eumo,George Aristides Eumorfopoulos (1864–1939), a Greek merchant and art collector of mainly Chinese, but also medieval, art. and feeling myself being penetrated by the conviction that Chinese art is—well, I won’t rehash a letter I wrote to you from London last month.See letter of August 11, 1929.

In a supreme effort to be fair, let me say that, if I felt that I must have one amazing Ch. bronze, and then never buy another, this object of Loo’s is probably the one I’d select.

Loo has nothing else new.

Bill is getting on well—SmolizanskiDr. Léon Smolizanski (1882–1944), author of L'albumine dans les crachats des tuberculeux (Paris: Jouve, 1911). says his progress couldn’t be more satisfactory.For William Royall Tyler’s illness, see letters of August 11, 1929, and August 13, 1929. But Smol. won’t hear of Bill’s going to Oxford next month.See letter of August 11, 1929: “We hope that he’ll be perfectly well in 2 months time, and able to go up to Oxford mid-October, when Term starts” Jan. is the best we can hope for, and even that, given the winter climate of Oxford, bleibt hingestellt [sic].“Remains to be seen.”

Bill is very cheerful and most reasonable about resting. He reads a lot: and has recently eaten:

1) The Anonymous Chronicle of the First Crusade (in. Latin, twice);The Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum, written ca. 1100 by a member of Bohemund I of Antioch’s expedition.
2) Anna Comnena’s Alexiad (to get the Greek view of the events in (1).Anna Comnena (Komnene) (1083–1153), a Byzantine princess and daughter of the emperor Alexios I Komnenos. The Alexiad (ca. 1148) was an account of her father’s reign.
Bergson’s Evolution CréatriceHenri-Louis Bergson’s L’Evolution créatrice, written in 1907, provides an alternate explanation for the theory of Darwinian evolution, suggesting that evolution came from a “vital impetus,” an élan vital, or humanity’s natural creative impulse.
4) Bergson’s Le Rire.Henri-Louis Bergson’s Le rire (“Laughter”), an essay on the meaning of comedy published in 1900.
5) Ch. Nordmann’s book on Einstein.Charles Nordmann, Einstein et l’univers : Une lueur dans le mystère des choses (Paris: Hachette, 1921). (“Einstein and the Universe, A Glimpse into the Mystery of Things.”)

Plus a lot of novels, inter alia the works of Pitcher, late of the ‘Pink ‘Un.’Arthur M. Binstead (“Pitcher”) and Ernest Wells (“Swears”), A Pink ‘Un and a Pelican: Some Random Reminiscences, Sporting or Otherwise (London: Bliss Sands, 1898). While I was at Antigny, I read German with him every day, and he’s getting on well with that.

If he’s quite all right say by Dec. 1, we shall probably let him go to Austria for a bit, and perhaps for a prolonged stay, if Oxford in Jan. is judged unwise.For William Royall Tyler’s trip to Austria following his illness, see letters of October 12, 1929; October 23, 1929; December 28, 1929; February 10, 1930; and March 6, 1930. The dearest wish of his heart at present is to find himself again in the Vienna Opera and the Redoutensaal,The Redoutensaal of Vienna was rebuilt in 1744–1748 by Antonio Galli-Bibiena after plans by Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issy for Empress Maria Theresia, converting a previous theater into two concert and ball halls, the “Großer Redoutensaal” and the “Kleiner Redoutensaal.” and to hear masses of Wagner and Mozart and Beethoven.The composers Richard Wagner (1813–1883), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827).

I’m frightfully busy—rushing over to England day after tomorrow, then back here, and there’ll soon be a trip to the Balkans, probably, to Bulgaria to see my friend Mr. Angel Couyoumdjiski,Angel Couyoumdjisky (also Angelo Kouyoumdjisky) (1886–1966) was a Bulgarian banker and financier who was also active in Paris and Brussels. He became an American citizen in 1943 and was made a colonel in the U.S. Army a few months later. He participated in the so-called Jadwin Mission, which in 1943 attempted without success to detach Bulgaria from the Axis alliance. Couyoumdjisky also recruited the Bulgarian diplomat Ivan Asen Georgiev to spy for the United States, which resulted in Georgiev’s execution in 1963. The authors wish to thank the historian Petko Mangatchev for providing this information. who was born in Bulgaria (of Saloniki Jew extraction) is head of the Banque Fco Belge et Balkanique,The Banque Franco-Belge et Balkanique, established in February 1929 with nine branch offices in Dupnitza, Haskovo, Philippopoli, Pleven, Lom, Rutschuk, Sofia, Varna, and Virnin. is a Spanish subject, and is Consul General of the Austrian republic at Sofia. One can’t resist Mr. Angel Couyoumdjiski, can one? Couyoum for short.

Good bye, dearest Mildred.

R. T.