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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, September 30, 1938

League of Nations


Dear Robert.

I’ve just had your letter of Sept. 21, and at the same time one from Stora with the photos. of the enameled cross.This pendant gold and cloisonné enamel cross is referenced in correspondence between Raphael Stora and Robert Woods Bliss, dated September 20, 1938, and September 21, 1938.

I know this object: ArgutinskyPrince Vladimir Argutinsky-Dolgorukov (1872–1941), a Russian artist, art collector, art dealer, and former official at the ministry of foreign affairs in Russia. He was an important donor for the creation of the Museum of Old Petersburg in 1907 and was a curator of the Hermitage Museum after the revolution of 1917. He emigrated to France in the 1920s. had it in Paris last year & showed it to me, & I didn’t even think it worth mentioning to you. I don’t know what it is (Japanese fake? Russian XIX cent?) but I’m perfectly certain it’s not Byzantine. I’m delighted to see that you say it doesn’t look Byz. to you. Good eye! I shall be much interested to see whether KendrickSir Thomas Downing Kendrick (1895–1979), a British archaeologist and art historian. In 1938, he became keeper of the British and medieval antiquities department at the British Museum, London. buys it for the BM,British Museum. What is the owner asking, I wonder? I’m telling Stora that I have written to you on the object, without telling him what I’ve written.

Well, the news of the Munich agreementIn 1938, Adolf Hitler, chancellor of Germany, made plans to invade Czechoslovakia, especially the area of the Sudetenland. In response, Great Britain chose a policy of appeasement, and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain chose to negotiate with Hitler over the Sudenten crisis rather than offer Czechoslovakia military support. Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland be handed over to Germany, and on September 29, 1938, Chamberlain agreed that areas containing more than fifty percent Germans should be handed back to Germany. Great Britain eventually declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. didn’t surprise me, for as you may have gathered from my letters & cables, I expected a settlement. And I think it’s about the best that could be expected. The Czechoslovak State, with its consistent refusal to make the slightest concession to its huge minorities, and with its attempts to play Great Power Politics (Russian alliance) was a constant menace to peace in Europe, and its neutralization should prove to be a great blessing all round. As you may imagine, these views aren’t very acceptable in this place—but even here they are beginning to appeal to some. I’m more hopeful about prospects for international collaboration now than I have been at any time in the last 7 years.

I’m sorry to say I’ve heard from MakridyTheodore Makridy (Macridy) (1872–1940), a Turkish archaeologist and curator who was the founding director of the Benaki Museum in Athens (1931–1940); he was the former keeper (1872–1931) of the Greek and Byzantine department and the assistant director (1925–1930) of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. that he has bought those Byz. RingsThese rings have not been identified. See letter of September 23, 1938. for the Benaki Mus.The Benaki Museum, Athens, a museum established and endowed in 1930 by the Greek collector Antonis Benakis (1873–1954) and housed in the Benakis family mansion in Athens. I mean those of which I sent you photos last week.

[There is no second sheet to this letter in the file.]

Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Things: M. & R. Stora, Paris