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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 20, 1937

Hôtel de Crillon

Place de la Concorde



Dear Robert.

I’ve just had yours of Dec. 3rd, forwarded from Pest.

I understand your feelings about the Seldjuk silk.This Seldjuk textile has not been identified. You’d better defer taking a decision till you feel sure whether or no [sic] you want it, & then perhaps make an offer, in case the silk is still unsold then. Personally, I’m not much in favour of your ranging outside Byz. & allied arts—but one must yield to the coup de foudre“Love at first sight.” once in a while.

As I wired, I don’t much care for Brummer’s Christ (No. 545).See Charles Diehl, Jean Ebersolt, and Royall Tyler, Exposition internationale d’art byzantin, 28 mai–9 juillet 1931 (Paris: Musée des arts décoratifs, 1931), 154, no. 545.

I certainly hope you won’t get GuichonÉdouard Guilhou, a Parisian collector. See Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). ring No. 460BZ.1947.15. at any such price.See letter of November 16, 1937. Nor am I in favour of Drey’sPaul Drey (1885–1953), senior partner of the Paul Drey Gallery, New York. chessmanChess Tower, French, twelfth century. Adolph Goldschmidt, Die Elfenbeinskulpturen (Berlin: B. Cassirer, 1926), 4:49, no. 179a–e, pl. 63. See letter of December 3, 1937.—a good price, as you say, but not good enough to break rules for.

I’ll at once try GéjouIsaac Élias Géjou (d. 1939), an Armenian antiquities dealer in Paris. for the spoonsBZ.1937.35–42. at £500 (import £600). One never knows. (Later: have already written to Géjou).

You’ll have had my letter saying that Juritzky is willing to pay freight on those columns,BZ.1940.78–79. See letter of November 23, 1937. up to a certain maximum. I’d take them at that.

I’ve had JannyThis person or company has not been identified. make a case for the BustrosElias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. belt,BZ.1937.33. but as it won’t be ready for some time, I shall get La RancherayeDe La Rancheraye et Cie., a shipping company in Paris. to ship the belt at once—as soon as GiraudonAdolphe and Georges Giraudon founded a photographic library in 1877 in Paris that specialized in photographic reproductions for “artists and scholars.” See Monique Le Pelley Fonteny, Adolphe et Georges Giraudon: Une bibliothèque photographique (Paris: Somogy, 2005). has finished photographing it. (I’m doing this as an added precaution, as I haven’t any decent photo. of the belt, before shipping it. I’ll tell Giraudon to send you the negative), & have the case sent on later, when ready. The belt really is a marvel, & I’m enchanted you’ve got it.

Stora will probably send you photos of a set of 4 adossé Romanesque figures,These Romanesque figures have not been identified. apparently from the Beauvais region. The Louvre is negociating for them. I hope it takes them, but if it doesn’t, I don’t advise you to do so. They are important, for a comprehensive collection of French Romanesque, but to me they just miss being of the highest quality.

I’m awaiting with very great interest your reply to my letter of the 13th about the two Dresden ivories. These are a couple of objects that really are of surpassing quality, each in its way, and that would fit beautifully into the Oaks. I only hope FritzRoyall Tyler’s slang for “Germans.” won’t ask for them such a price as you don’t feel like giving. There is nothing finer, except perhaps the Romanos plaqueChrist Crowning Romanos and Eudoxia, ca. 945–949, ivory, Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. in the CDM, & the Cortona reliquary,Reliquary of the True Cross, Byzantine, later tenth century, ivory, Cortona. neither of which will come unstuck.

I’ve heard a wild rumour, which I can’t believe, that the Esztergom enameled reliquaryThe Esztergom Staurotheke, Byzantine, ca. 1150–1200, silver gilt and enamel, Cathedral Treasury, Esztergom, Hungary, acc. no. 64.3.1. (see our little Byz. Book, about No 76 (?)) has been offered for sale. I’ll get all the facts when I return to Pest. That would be an acquisition, all right.

Much love—Yrs R. T.

Well, one sees that there are chances of acquiring very important objects; all the more important to stay off the things you don’t feel sure you want.

Associated Things: L'art byzantin; M. & R. Stora, Paris