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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler, January 31, 1928

The American Embassy
Buenos Aires
January 31st, 1928.Tuesday.

What have you done to us, dearest Royall? We are in a hyper-excited state over the StroganoffCount 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. dish! How came you not to cable about that? I am familiar with it, and should have leapt at the chance, and am now terror-stricken lest, during the lapse of time required for the arrival of your letter, it should have escaped. It seems hardly credible that BabelonJean Babelon (1889–1978), a French librarian, historian, and numismatist at the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, where he became deputy curator in 1924 and then director in 1937 and 1961. should not have recognized it, and also that it should be in Paris more than a day without being snatched up. Your forthcoming cable is most eagerly awaited. We dread what the price is almost certain to be, but an object of that kind is worth a sacrifice.

As you know by our telegram, we are unable, alas!, to go for the other things. This Argentine chapter is simply ruinous, and we would rather barter our souls for such a majestic object as the Stroganoff dish than acquire four or five lesser pieces, however alluring they may be.

Your letters of the 5th and 8th arrived simultaneously on January 28th.See telegram of January 28, 1928. I have already returned the photographs of the Chaldean statues to Feuardent, with a note cannily worded so as to extract others from him in the future. Thank you heartily for obtaining these for us. Those statues do indeed look to be superlatively fine. We too prefer the standing one, and feel so strongly about it that, were it within our means, I think we should fall for it on the strength of your description and the photographs. I remember nothing of the period I like as well as that standing figure. Robert is more enthusiastic about the seated one than I, and I am, as always, pleased when my preference happens to coincide with yours.

The ewerThis ewer has not been identified. It was acquired by Hayford Peirce. See letters of January 5, 1928; February 1, 1928 [1]; February 1, 1928 [2]; March 13, 1928; April 9, 1928; and April 29, 1928. is really lovely in line, and it costs us both pang to relinquish it. Also the enamelsSee letter of January 8, 1928. look to be very good. If by any unhappy chance the dish should have escaped us, we will go into the question of the other objects immediately.

I am sending this with the photographs to Antigny, as we did the cable, thinking that, should you have already left, Elisina would open them, and not only forward to you, but if Hayford Peirce happened to be at Antigny, he or she might perhaps act promptly on the Stroganoff dish. It might save valuable time, and I realize that Budapest is not a particularly convenient vantage-point from which to ‘marchander’“To bargain.” in Paris.

I have before me your letters of July,See letter of July 17, 1927. SeptemberSee letter of September 25, 1927. and October,See letters of October 24, 1927 [1], and October 24, 1927 [2]. as well as these last two of January,See letters of January 5, 1928, and January 8, 1928. and have been wanting, for so many weeks they have become months, to write you a ‘magnum opus’, albeit unworthy, in response. I cannot begin to tell you what a joy your letters are to us both, nor how eagerly we look for them, nor how frequently they are re-read—nor how unutterably we miss you. This must get off to you now, and I hope within the next few days to send you a proper letter.

Meantime, please thank Elisina for her admirable one of November 20th, and tell her, with my love, I have received delightful characteristic ones from Bill and Gioia.

Thanks too for your cableSee letter of December 31, 1927. acknowledging receipt of the remittance.

We are hard at it, and very interested, and often wish we might discuss the constantly-arising problems.

Congratulations to Bill on his prowess, and dear love from us both to Antigny.

Mind you get that Stroganoff dish! and when you do, won’t you keep it with you & enjoy it for a bit? It is a magnificent & solemn piece of reverence & to be drunk in. I know how much you covet it & am moved that you let us take it instead of pulling yr last shoe string to place it by the chalice’s side.

Thank you again for everything you are & do, dearest Royall

Que vaya dios con Ud.“May god go with you.”


Associated Things: Feuardent Frères
Associated Artworks: BZ.1955.18