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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, March 27, 1929

21, Quai Bourbon
Gobelins 31–3
27.III.29Wednesday.

I was delighted to find your letter from Washington, with photographs enclosed, waiting for me on my return from Portugal, dearest Mildred.See letter of March 11, 1929. Yes, Portugal. Instead of going to London early this month as I expected, I went with Olaf HambroRonald Olaf Hambro (1885–1961), the managing director of Hambros Bank since 1921. on a trip to Milan, Turin and Lisbon,In his letter of February 28, 1929 [2], Royall Tyler informed Mildred Barnes Bliss that he was going to Italy with Ronald Hambro, but he did not mention Portugal. from which I am now slowly recovering, and preparing for another trip, about Apr. 10, to Berlin and Warsaw. Thence I expect to go to London for about 3 weeks, and then to Bpest to say goodbye to the Hunkies, and then to make my final bow to the Finance CommitteeOn October 25, 1920, the League of Nations appointed an Advisory Economic and Financial Committee composed of two sections of ten members each and tasked with “the working out of measures of an economic and financial nature which have been submitted for adoption by Members of the League in accordance with the Covenant of the League.” of the League.The 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. Then, I expect, some more London.

Of course I realize you can’t make your plans in these days, but when you do know for certain please cable me—and if, as it now looks, you are going to arrive in Europe towards end April or early May, do please try to come to London, as in all likelihood I shall have to be there then.

I’m glad you’ve turned down the Mallon plates.See also letters of February 5, 1929; February 9, 1929; February 12, 1929 [1]; February 16, 1929; February 28, 1929 [2]; March 11, 1929; and December 26, 1929. Perhaps you may later be able to get one or two at a more reasonable price.

I had hardly arrived here when Kalebdjian called me up. I went to see him yesterday, and found a perfectly ravishing Coptic necklace, gold and lapis-lazuli, with a pendeloque formed of a shell, in lapis, with a little gold Venus, very Coptic IV–V, in it.Dumbarton Oaks has assigned a 1928 accession number to this object, BZ.1928.6, but the letter of March 27, 1929, suggests that the Blisses did not know of this necklace until 1929. I examined it very closely and am sure it’s all right, and it is a marvel in its way. It has just been brought to K. by a lady, together with a gold Ptolemaic bracelet,This bracelet has not been identified. which I don’t like. The lady says she won’t take a sou less than 30,000 f for the 2 things, and Kaleb. says that, for 30,000 f, he’ll sell you the necklace, keeping the bracelet (value 2–3000 fr. ?). I consider the necklace a marvel, and I think you will. I’ve told K. he mustn’t show it to anyone until you’ve seen it—but the lady may get obstreperous, in which case I shall, rather than lose it, buy it for you. I’ve never seen its like, and the little gold Venus, very Copto-Byz. in style, is a marvel. K. has promised to have it photod. at once, and I’ll send off the prints if they’re any sort of good. Cable me only if you don’t want it, as otherwise I shall not let it escape. As a matter of fact, I have no doubt Hayford would jump at it if he had the chance.

I’m very glad to see the photo of Brummer’s Sass. head.This Sasanian bust was described as a fourteen-inch-high bronze bust of a Sasanian king, probably Shahpour I. The Blisses acquired the piece on May 4, 1929, but returned it to Joseph Brummer by June 1930. See also letters of March 29, 1929 [2], and April 11, 1929. The price is bad, as you say, but what an object! I wish I could see his silver plate. Silver plates are a sore subject with me—I curse myself for having let mine go.The silver plate that Tyler refers to here is unknown.

I know Anrep’s pavement in the Nat. Gall.Boris Anrep (1883–1969), a Russian artist active in Britain, worked in the medium of mosaic, often in a neo-Byzantine style. Between 1928 and 1952, Anrep created four mosaics for the entrance hall of the National Gallery in London. The two earlier ones are The Labours of Life (west vestibule, 1928) and The Pleasures of Life (east vestibule, 1929). I also know Anrep, have in fact known him for 20 years, and I admit his work is on a good deal higher level than any other modern mosaic I know—but that isn’t saying much, and when you say some of his stuff is as good as good Byz. work, my hair bristles. He is a meritorious person, however, and apart from blasphemous comparisons I wish him well.

The N.Y. dealer who bought Boubouc’s stuff was Brummer, of course. Versions differ as to what he paid, some say £6,600. others £8000 and upwards. I understand he bought for a customer.The New York and Paris antiquities dealer Joseph Brummer acquired the treasure by 1928, when he sold it to Henry Walters. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, acquired the treasure by bequest in 1931.

Bill is to be head of his house next term (his last) and he has passed into Oxford.

You’ve probably heard that Edith Wharton has been very ill.Edith Wharton was seriously ill with a fever between January and April 1929. See R. W. B. Lewis, Edith Wharton: A Biography (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), 490. Elisina is with her in the South,Sainte-Claire le Château. and though it’s bad luck it should fall just at the time Elisina and I had looked forward to a fortnight quietly together in Paris, I wouldn’t for the world have Elisina anywhere but where she can be of use to Edith, at this moment. Last week the outlook was frightening: now it is much better, but she’s still very weak.

Lisbon! I hadn’t time to see the Barclays,Sir Colville Adrian de Rune Barclay (1869–1929), a British diplomat in Hungary between 1924 and 1928 and an ambassador to Portugal in 1928–1929. His wife was Lady Barclay (née Sarita Enriqueta Ward). I was so rushed. I found the place very pleasant, and quite unexpected. Some very good primitives, and a great flavour to the town, generally. Discreet but cheerful XVIIIe cent, architecture put up by PombalSebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Count of Oeiras and 1st Marquis of Pombal (1699–1782), a Portuguese statesman and minister of the kingdom in the government of Joseph I of Portugal between 1750 and 1777. on the ruins caused by the 1755 earthquake. None of the excitement I always feel in Spain, but a soft contentment. Delicious sea-food and some interesting wines. All in all, I don’t mind the prospect of returning now and then, in spite of 33 hrs. train.

Shortly I’ll go to see Stora,See letter of February 28, 1929 [2]. and his ivories, if he’s got them.

Much love to you
R. T.

I haven’t attempted to answer your ‘What is Hambro…’ etc questions—you know the answer as well as I do, and it wouldn’t do to pen it.

 
Associated Concepts: League of Nations
Associated Artworks: BZ.1928.6; BZ.1929.2