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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, April 28, 1936

Finance Ministry



Dear Robert.

I was very deeply touched by your letter from Rome, about Bill. I think you are right in that it was a fortunate thing that we found out about the trouble at the outset, and were thus able to deal with it at once. It’s a real comfort to have your sympathy and interest in him so much alive, always.

I spoke with him by telephone yesterday, and he seems cheerful and normal. I also spoke with Elisina, after he had been examined by the doctor. He has put on 6 Ib. weight since he went to Washington, and the foyer d’infection“Ganglion of the infection.” has shrunk considerably. The plan is that he and Betsy go to Italy for about a month—until it is certain to be warm at Antigny. Then Betsy goes to England to her mother for a bit, and Bill to Elisina in Burgundy. I’ll let you have further news as it comes in.

I’m sending you a letter I’ve just had from Mrs. Byne.Mildred Stapley Byne (1874–1941), wife of the dealer and art scholar Arthur Byne (1884–1935). Born in the United States, the Bynes moved to Madrid in 1916. This undated letter is preserved in the Byzantine Collection, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Byne correspondence file. In this letter, she writes: “I believe I mentioned in Paris that we had acquired the finest that Spanish soil had yielded thus far. As you may have heard, eleven more pieces were disposed of here in Madrid in late January. Of the cache there now remains only a pair of birds similar to those you saw, but set with green and decorated with animal design. Being the handsomest of all I was saving them until I should go to N. Y. But conditions being what they unfortunately are here, it seems best to stay on the spot, and resign myself to selling at a lower price.” I think she might have mentioned these “finest” of all her birds at an earlier stage. I’m merely replying that I have no advice to tender. If you want to do so, you might explore the possibility of this pair,The Blisses acquired two pairs of eagle fibulae (BZ.1936.4–5 and BZ.1936.12–13) in 1936 from Mildred Stapley Byne. Both pairs are now considered forgeries. or at least get photos.

I hope you got a letter I sent you to the Rex, at Naples, saying I’d had the photos. of the little bonhomme in gold,BZ.1936.46. and liked the looks of him. More than that I can’t say without seeing the object.

I’ve had your photos. of the little stag reliefBZ.1936.44. and the other things. I’m very glad you got the stag. I think it is the other half of the relief, showing the L-hand stag drinking from one of the Rivers of Paradise at the foot of the Cross, reproduced in our Vol. II,L’art byzantin. PI. 153.Fragment of a wall revetment (Antelope drinking from the rivers of Paradise), Byzantine (Northern Palestine), mid-sixth century, marble, Baltimore Museum of Art, acc. no. 1954.108. This fragment originally joined BZ.1936.44. The latter one belongs or belonged to de Lorey, and I wonder if the one you’ve got didn’t pass through his hands.

The other reliefs are interesting—what is asked for them? I like the two of sea-lions eating fishThis sculpture has not been identified.—I don’t care much for the other one.

Do you want the photos. back?

Much love to Mildred and to you, dear Robert,


R. T.

Associated Things: L'art byzantin
Associated Artworks: BZ.1936.1–15; BZ.1936.44; BZ.1936.46