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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, August 21, 1933 [2]

Par Arnay-le-Duc
(Côte d’Or)

Some years ago, dearest Mildred, my memory records that you made me promise that if ever I came across any enamel of the kind represented by Stoclet’s little roundels,These enamels were acquired by Adolphe Stoclet from the Istanbul antiquities dealer Andronikos. See letters of April 29, 1928; May 10, 1928; September 12, 1928; and October 23, 1929. I’d let you know at once. Well, MalyeThérèse Malye (1886–1951), Mildred Barnes Bliss’s social secretary in Paris. is sending you, today, a photo, of the best one I’ve ever seen—better than the celebrated Castellani brooch in the Brit. Mus.Alessandro Castellani (1823–1883), an Italian jeweler and antiquities collector who had businesses in Paris, London, and Naples. The Castellani Brooch, Lombardic (?), seventh–ninth century, gold and enamel, was acquired by the British Museum, London, from Castellani in 1865 (1865,0712.1). The brooch is in the form of a gold disc with a central roundel of cloisonné enamel representing a bust and with stylized cypress trees on each side. Around this is a border of cloisonné enamel flanked on either side by a circle of small rings with pearls between them. On the lower sides are three loops for pendants. The photo, doesn’t give at all an adequate idea of it, but it was all I could get. It is of the exact size of the object. The gold frame comes out particularly badly.

The enamelSee The Dark Ages: Loan Exhibition of Pagan and Christian Art in the Latin West and Byzantine East (Worcester, Mass., 1937), 42, cat. no. 122. Marvin C. Ross doubted its authenticity in “Letter to the Editor of the Art Bulletin,”  33, no. 1 (March 1951): 72. belongs to Sangiorgi of Rome, who sent a man with it specially here last week to show it to Hayford and me. The man of course only stayed an hour or so, and the enamel has now gone back to Italy. We had a very good look at it, and noted the colours, as you’ll see on the back. It appears it was found at Benevento, and that fits in well with the style, which is VII–VIII cent., Longobard strongly influenced by Byz. like the Castellani brooch (and the Stoclet roundels).

The enamel is slightly iridesced. When one moistens the surface, the colours come out wonderfully. The gold is lovely.

Robert is here, under this very roof. I took him yesterday and carried him off with me. He is so sweet and dear, bless him, and so comfy.

I went to London to make a circumstantial call on Bill’s prospective mother-in-law,Mrs. Laurence Fisher-Rowe. who—well, a mother-in-law. The girl,Bettine “Betsy” Fisher-Rowe Tyler. whom I have known for a couple of years, is a very good specimen indeed, really not the sort of object such a young collector usually succeeds in acquiring.

In case you haven’t heard it, I must tell you about the mixed biology class. Teacher asks little Suzy: What is the part of the body that increases five times in states of excitement? Suzy blushes and says she doesn’t know. Little Johnny holds up his hand: “The pupil of the eye.” Teacher says: “Johnny’s answer is correct. And now, Suzy, I have three things to say to you. First, you are not frank. Second, you have not learned the lesson. And third, you’re going to be terribly disappointed, when you grow up.”

Much love from Elisina and Bill.

Bless you, my precious one.

R. T.

Associated Artworks: BZ.1933.5