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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, November 23, 1937

Finance Ministry


23rd November 1937.

My dear Robert,

I have had the enclosed letter from Juritzky. As you will see, he will not come down on the price of Schl. 8.000 for the two columns,BZ.1940.78–79. but makes a concession in that he will pay carriage up to maximum Schl. 1.500.

I think these columns would be a great addition to the Oaks, and I advise you to take them. I really think the price, on the present offer, is a very reasonable one.

I have also heard from Fiedler, who has just returned from a month’s journey, exploring possibilities that interest us. The Gotha diptych leafSee letters of April 8, 1937 [2]; April 9, 1937 [1]; April 9, 1937 [2]; April 16, 1937 [1]; April 16, 1937 [2]; May 22, 1937; June 3, 1937; June 16, 1937; June 26, 1937; July 6, 1937; July 25, 1937; August 21, 1937; September 4, 1937; October 25, 1937 [1]; November 23, 1937; December 13, 1937 [3]; February 28, 1938; March 31, 1938; July 10, 1938; July 29, 1938; August 10, 1938; August 16, 1938 [2]; December 20, 1938; and January 3, 1939. is the object of some dispute as between the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-GothaCarl Eduard Georg Albert Leopold, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884–1954), the fourth and last reigning duke. and the State. Until the Courts have pronounced on the matter, neither side has a clear title, and nothing can be done. Fiedler thinks that the legal problem will be settled shortly. He is in touch with all the people concerned, and will return to the charge as soon as circumstances allow. It appears that the celebrated Echternach GospelsThe Codex Aureus of Echternach, an eleventh-century illuminated gospel book, formerly in the Abbey of Echternach, Luxembourg, before being acquired by Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, in 1801. Today it is in the Germanisches Natonalmuseum, Nuremberg, Hs. 156142. are in the same position as the diptych leaf. I am enclosing two postcards,These enclosures were not retained with the letter. showing the binding of the Gospels and one of the paintings. The book is extremely well known and you will have no difficulty in finding other reproductions from it. I expect a very hot price would be asked for it, and as it ranks as a national work of art there might even be some difficulty in securing it, whatever the price offered. I am not particularly fond of the paintings or of the cover either, but they are extremely fine of their sort, so I mention the matter to you à toutes fins utiles.“For all practical purposes.”

I shall try to see Fiedler while I am in Switzerland and hear all about his journey. I will pass on anything interesting to you.


R. T.

Strengberg, den 18. Nov. 37

Sehr geehrter Herr Tyler,

Verbindlichsten Dank für Ihre freundlichen Zeilen vom 11. Nov. und vor allem für Ihre liebenswürdige Bemühung in der Angelegenheit der Labradoritsäulen.

So gerne ich Mr. Bliss in Anbetracht der hohen Transportkosten beim Preis der Säulen entgegenkommen möchte, so bitte ich Sie mir zu glauben, dass die Summe von $5.000.-, die Sie genannt haben, mir wirklich unmöglich ist, zu akzeptieren.

Da ich Ihren Zeilen zu entnehmen vermeine, dass mein verlangter Preis von $8.000.- Mr. Bliss sehr hoch erscheint, so möchte ich hinzu nur bemerken, dass solche Säulen äusserst selten. Ja, ich glaube ohne Übertreibung sagen zu können, dass derartige Stücke wohl kaum im Handel zu haben sein dürften.

Auf meiner zweimonatlichen Reise durch Italien in diesem Winter, habe ich unzählige grosse Antiquare ausgesucht und nur ein Paar Hartsteinsäuler gesehen. Für diese beiden Säulen, die nicht annähernd so schön und edel im Material waren, wie dei meinen, wurden Lire 60,000.- verlangt. Ich erwähne dies nur, wie Mr. Bliss vielleicht der Meinung ist, dass ich einen zu hohen Preis gefordert habe.

Falls Mr. Bliss auf die Säule reflektiert, so will ich ihm wie gesagt gerne entgegenkommen. Ich wäre bereit die Trasportspesen auf mich zu nehmen, falls dies nich mehr, als $1.500.- betragen würden. Dies wäre das Äusserste, was ich tun könnte. Bitte mir diesem zu glauben und in diesem Sinne Mr. Bliss zu schreiben.

Indem ich Ihnen nochmals für Ihre ausserordentlich liebenswürdigen Bemühungen bestens danke, verbleibe ich mit dem Ausdruck

Vorzüglichster Hochachtung

Antonin Juritzky Dear Mr. Tyler, Sincere thanks for your kind letter of November 11, and especially for your kind effort in the matter of the Labradorite columns. As much as I would like to accommodate Mr. Bliss, given the high price of the transport cost of the columns, I beg you to believe me that the sum of $5,000 –, which you mentioned to me is really impossible to accept. As I wish to refer to your lines, that my requested price of $8,000 seems very high to Mr. Bliss, I would only like to note that such columns are extremely rare. Yes, I think I can say without exaggeration, that such pieces may hardly have been in the trade. On my bi-monthly trip to Italy this winter, I visited countless large antiquarians and only saw one pair of hard stone columns. For these two columns, which were not nearly as beautiful and noble in material, 60,000 lire was asked. I only mention this, as Mr. Bliss perhaps feels that I have asked for too high a price. In the case that Mr. Bliss considers the columns, I would like to accommodate him as I said. I would be willing to take on the transport charges, if this would not be more than $1,500. This would be the most that I could do. Please believe me in this and write Mr. Bliss of this. I thank you again very much for your extraordinary friendly efforts, I close with the expression, most exquisite regards, Antonin Juritzky.

Associated People: Antonin Juritzky; Hermann Fiedler
Associated Artworks: BZ.1940.78-79