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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 20, 1938


Dear Robert.

I’ve seen the Juritzkys again. The Princess appears to dislike her husband selling both the Germanic fibulae:See Katalog der Sammlungen Ludwig Marx-Mainz, Albert Sieck-München (Munich: Weizinger, 1918), 55, nos. 893 and 894. “Please let him keep one.” Whether this was intended to whet our appetite or not, I don’t know. Anyway, I replied that of course neither you nor I would for a moment want the J. to part with anything which the Princess desired to keep.

I’ve just this moment had an hour’s talk with old F. Interesting. The P. has been jugged on a charge of illicit exchange transactions. His mother,Princess Luise Sophie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1866–1952). Big Willie’s own sister,Princess Louise Sophie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1866–1952) was the sister of Empress Auguste Viktoria (1858–1921), the wife of Emperor Wilhelm II (1859–1941). takes him his meals daily. F., as having acted as man-of-affairs to the P. & his fatherPrince Friedrich Leopold (1865–1931). before him, was asked to give evidence to G.German. counsul in this country, & did so—harmless, as you may imagine. F. thinks they can’t pin anything on the P., but of course where the Folk-will is law, they may confiscate his estates for him, just for kicks. F. doesn’t want to go to G.Germany. until the trial has taken place & has ended, as he doesn’t want to have to be called as a witness & be kept, perhaps for weeks, kicking his heels. Once the trial is over, he’ll go back.

On his last visit, some weeks ago, he succeeded in contacting HannoverSee letters of March 1, 1937; April 6, 1937; April 9, 1937; June 3, 1937; July 25, 1937; August 18, 1937; August 21, 1937; September 4, 1937; September 11, 1937; and December 13, 1937 [3]. for the other wing of Dresden, & brought matters a step forwards with Dresden and with Gotha.See letters of April 8, 1937; April 8, 1937; April 9, 1937; April 9, 1937; April 16, 1937; April 16, 1937; May 22, 1937; June 3, 1937; June 16, 1937; June 26, 1937; July 6, 1937; July 25, 1937; August 21, 1937September 4, 1937October 25, 1937; November 23, 1937; December 13, 1937; February 28, 1938; March 31, 1938; July 10, 1938; July 29, 1938; August 10, 1938; August 16, 1938; and January 3, 1939. He thinks Gotha will materialize soon, and also Dresden and Hannover. He’ll try & find out what their ideas are, & only let in that payment would be in dollars. As soon as he has any slant, he’ll let me know.

He thinks that AdolfAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. is very soon going to start expropriating Church property. If he does, Limburg (the great enameled reliquary of the Holy Cross,Reliquary of the True Cross (Staurotheke), Byzantine, ca. 960, gold, gems, and enamel, Cathedral Museum, Limburg an der Lahn. the most beautiful enamels I’ve ever seen, by far, & dated about 970) might fall. That I consider by far the most important movable Byz. work in existence. In quality it’s far superior to the Pala d’Oro.Pala d’Oro (“Golden Cloth”), the high altar retable of the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. The altarpiece consists of two parts. The lower part freatures enamels illustrating the story of Saint Mark, a portrait of the doge, and a Pantocrator Christ—all of which originated as an antependium commissioned by the dogeOrdelafo Faliero (d. 1117) from court craftsmen of Constantinople in 1102. The Byzantine enamels of the upper part, which includes an image of the Archangel Michael, may have been looted by the Crusaders in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade of 1204. Have you good photos of it? And the Deutz lion silkLion Silk, Byzantine, late tenth–early eleventh century, Saint Heribert Diocesan Museum, Cologne-Deutz. The twelfth-century shrine of Saint Heribert, archbishop of Cologne (d. 1021), at Saint Heribert, Cologne-Deutz, has an imperial Byzantine lion silk with an inscription suggesting a date of ca. 976–1025 for the textile. See Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen (Hildesheim, 1993), 2:no. II-19. might fall too.

Robert, in view of the above, I beg you to keep your powder-flash supplied, & not to waste any, taking shots at such small game as Kelek’s jugBZ.1939.31. & such. I really think some of the above marvels may soon come along, and. . . . I won’t waste words. In the meantime, such amuse-gueules“Bite-sized hors d’euvres.” as MakridyWing of a triptych with the Archangel Gabriel and the bust of Saint Paul, tenth century, ivory, Benaki Museum, Athens, inv. no. 10399. The ivory was donated to the Benaki Museum in 1939 by Stephanos and Penelope Delta. Reportedly, it was acquired from someone named Tozakoglu. See Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections (Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Benaki Museum, 2013), 158–59, no. 76. & Landau,The ivory (BZ.1939.8) was owned by Nicolas Landau (1887–1979), an antiquities dealer known as “Le prince des antiquaires.” Born in Varsovia, he studied law in Paris before becoming an antiquities dealer in New York and then in Paris, where he had a business on the rue de Duras. & that’s all!

Much love to you both

R. T.