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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 25, 1930

25.X.30Saturday.

I happened to go in to Vignier’s the other day, dearest Mildred, and heard that the Doucet saleJacques Doucet (1853–1929), a French fashion designer and collector. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930). The Blisses would acquire a Persian bowl (BZ.1930.11) from this sale. was coming off on Nov. 27–28. Vignier said he had sent you a catalogue in August—as you haven’t mentioned having received it, I told him to tear out the part interesting you and send it to you by air-post. He said he’d do so.

The tête de lionneDoucet sale, Sasanian lioness head. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930), 12, no. 22, pl. 7. This sculpture was bought back in by Mrs. Doucet and given to the Musée du Louvre, Paris. (and the Bodisatva)Doucet sale, Head of Kwan-Yin, Sui Dynasty. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930), 11, no. 21, pl. 5. This Head of a Bodhisattva, black marble, is now identified as Northern Chinese, Northern Qi Dynasty, third quarter of the sixth century. It was acquired by the Musée Cernuschi, Paris, in 1988, inv. no. M.C. 9801. are going to the Louvre. I take it that you are interested in nothing but the two best Sultanabads.Doucet sale, Persian (Sultanabad) bowls, thirteenth century. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930), 27, nos. 83 and 85, pls. 23 and 24. In the telegram of November 13, 1930, Tyler advises acquiring nos. 85 or 83, and the Blisses would acquire no. 85 (BZ.1930.11). I don’t know what they’ll fetch, of course, but imagine that I’d be able to get them for you for $5000, the two, and perhaps a good bit less, seeing the present lamentable state of business. Please let me know as soon as possible if you wish me to bid, and how far I’m to go.

Indjoudjian, old rascal, has a superb little Byz. enamel roundel of Our Lord,This enamel has not been identified. See also letters of February 14, 1931, and May 7, 1931. of A.1. style, very translucent, and absolutely right in every respect and particular. I’m trying to get him to give me a photo. of it and I’ll send it to you. I don’t want to appear too keen and in a hurry, so haven’t asked the price.

Bad as business is, things are being sold, and they are just the things one would wish to have wait patiently for your return. For instance: you remember that beautiful sapphire with the bust of ChristThe Blisses would acquire this sapphire cameo in January 1936. See also letters of February 14, 1931, and March 14, 1931. which was in the hands of a runner known to Kaleb., and which you kept for a day or two? £300 was being asked for it. Well, now Feuardent has it, and says he can’t sell it for under £600.

Also, d’Aguerre [sic]Henri Daguerre, Paris. has sold the GuarrazarThe Treasure of Guarrazar, a trove of Visigothic gold pieces discovered between 1838 and 1861 near Toledo, Spain. Much of the treasure was later stolen. eaglesPair of Eagle Fibulas, Visigothic, sixth century, gold over bronze with gemstones, glass, and meerschaum, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, acc. nos. 54.421 and 54.422. The fibulas were acquired by Henry Walters from Henri Daguerre in 1930. and ear-ringsEarrings with a Bust of the Virgin and a Bust of Christ Pantokrator, Byzantine, tenth century, cloisonné enamel on gold, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, acc. nos. 44.300 and 44.301. The earrings were acquired by Henry Walters from Henri Daguerre in 1926. (Walters), and the Griffin and bullock silk from S. Ursula in Cologne,This silk has not been identified. But a ninth-century silk, 60 cm x 52 cm, used to wrap the relics of Saint Hippolytus and having rows of griffins attacking bulls remains in the treasury of the church of Saint Ursula, Cologne. See Stephen Wagner, “The Impact of Silk on Ottonian and Salian Manuscripts,” Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings (2002). and the ivoryNativity and Adoration of the Magi, Byzantine, eleventh century, ivory, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, acc. no. 71.292. See Ludwig Pollak and Antonio Muñoz, Pièces de choix de la collection du Comte Grégoire Stroganoff à Rome, vol. 2, Moyen Âge—Renaissance—Époque modern (Rome: Impr. de l’Unione editrice, 1912), pl. CXX. The ivory was acquired by Henry Walters from Henri Daguerre in 1930. See also letter of February 5, 1931. from the Stroganoff coll.Count Grigorij Sergeevich Stroganoff (1829–1910), a connoisseur and collector of paintings and objects of many cultures. Stroganoff had homes in Rome, Paris, and Saint Petersburg. If one wants anything Byz. one has to make up one’s mind quick these days. Poor Hayford was so overcome by the sapphire that I had to speak brutally to him to stop him giving Feuardent £600 for it—and the day may come when he’ll curse me for it. Personally, I think Byz. objects are still undervalued, i.e. that they are still known to relatively few people, and are likely to reach a much higher level of prices.

Salter is quite well—his leaving the LeagueThe League of Nations, an international organization in Geneva whose principal missions were to maintain world peace, settle international disputes through negotiation and arbitration, and create stability within financial markets. has nothing to do with health. He feels the work there has changed in character, and that he wants a change himself, the fact being that it’s no longer exciting enough for him.

Bill is in Austria. The, fiddler, Roman Wisata,Roman Wisata (b. 1909), a Czech violinist and the student and later assistant of Otakar Ševčík at the Innsbruck Konservatorium. has become enamoured of a Gräfin Lily Herberstein,Klothilde (“Lily”), Gräfin von Herberstein (1899–1975). single but 12 yrs. his senior, who appears to be a marvellous pianist. Her family of course wouldn’t dream of her marrying Roman, and Roman is penniless, and the Rittmeister“Calvary captain.” in whose house Bill is staying, and who keeps Roman out of charity, swore he’d kick Roman out if there was any nonsense about an engagement. Bill says the alarums and excursions and circuses have passed all belief—he can’t write to me about them, so determined is he to watch my face when he tells me—but he does vouchsafe one bit of information which promises much: he has been presented with a beautiful watch, engraved inside the cover with the words ‘Roman—Lily.’ I’m going to Vienna in 10 days and am pining to hear about it all. Anyway, it’s good for Bill’s German. Roman has been engaged to play here with the Soc. Philharmonique in a big Concert in April.

Much love, dearest Mildred. Love from Hayford.

R. T.

P. S. I’ve just this instant heard, by telephone, that Indjoudjian has just sold the enamel roundel! You see what it’s like.

 
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1930.11; BZ.1936.17