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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, undated [10] (before April 4, 1949)

International Bank for

Reconstruction and DevelopmentThe International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), established in 1944, became operational in 1946 as the original institution of the World Bank Group. It was a cooperative organization of 188 member nations that originally promoted sustainable development and reconstruction to nations devastated by the Second World War. See letter of June 28, 1947.

Washington, D.C.This line is crossed out.

67 rue de Lille67 rue de Lille, the former Hôtel Duret, constructed in 1872–1874 by David de Pénanrun. Beginning in January 1949, the building served as the Parisian headquarters of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Tel. Littré 81.66



Here is Spring coming round again, dearest Mildred. The birds are singing in the gardens between the rue de Lille & the rue de l’Université on which the windows of our new offices look out—I can see, out of mine, a corner of the house, 55 rue de Verneuil which I inhabited 1906–1908. But what I’d like to know is whether there’s any prospect of your coming over here this summer? If there is, I beg you to let me know, as soon as you can, what your dates are likely to be, so that I may try to combine accordingly. I don’t think I shall have occasion to go to Washington before next autumn, at earliest, & probably not before next year.

My travels since we last parted have been limited to a few trips to Bâle & Geneva, and to my northern Diosceses—Denmark & Holland—to which Belgium is in process of being added.

In Denmark, last month, I had the luck to see an object I’ve wanted to see for many years: the Herlufsholm crucifixChrist from a crucifix, ivory, ca. 1230, Stifskirke, Herlufsholm, Denmark.—a French ivory of about 1220–1230, about 85 cm in height and in flawless condition (only the tips of the fingers broken), and certainly the grandest gothic ivory known—as accomplished as the Sainte Chapelle groups in the Louvre,I.e., Virgin and Child, ivory, before 1279, Musée du Louvre, Paris, acc. no. OA 57. and of a more tragic intensity of expression. Well, this object is the property of a foundation in the former abbey of Herlufsholm, about 90 k. from Copenhagen. When, at lunch, the Gov. of the Nat. Bk. asked me if I wouldn’t like to see some of the model dairies for which Denmark is famous, offering to drive me all round the country to inspect them. I piped up and said I would, provided I could also visit Herlufsholm, but also provided it were ascertained that the ivory was there & I could see it.

Well, it emerged: A. that the ivory had been sent to the Danish exhibition in London;Danish Art Treasures through the Ages, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, October 28, 1948–January 2, 1949. B. that it had been returned from London to Denmark, and C. that at that very moment it was in the office of the Director of the Copenhagen Museum. So on rising from lunch, I was conducted there, and had the inestimable privilege not only of seeing the crucifix, but of handling it, and seeing it at every angle. The backBack of Christ from a crucifix, ivory, ca. 1230, Stifskirke, Herlufsholm, Denmark. is of astounding beauty—and is normally invisible, as the figure is attached to a cross.

A long story, but it was a memorable experience. I thought of you.

At Copenhagen, I had the luck to find the Vienna pictures still on show,Art Treasures from the Vienna Collections, an exhibition of 279 objects—including paintings, bronzes, Greek and Roman antiquities, ivories, gold and silver objects, and tapestries, mostly from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The exhibition continued to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, and had already been on view in London, Paris, Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. See Art Treasures from the Vienna Collections, Lent by the Austrian Government (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1949). and to see them one morning; and the MauritshuisThe Mauritshuis, an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. the afternoon of the same day. And here, we’ve had the Munich picturesAlte Pinakothek, Munich.—or a choice of them, including the RubensPeter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), a Flemish Baroque painter. sketches and the portrait of Charles VCharles V (1500–1558), ruler of the Holy Roman Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his abdication in 1556. by Titian:The Portrait of Charles V, oil on canvas, 1548, painted by Titian (Tiziano Vecellior Tiziano Vecellio (ca.1488/1490–1576), an Italian Renaissance painter of the Venetian school. his greatest portrait, I think, although only the face is free from repaint. But what a face! After having read so many hundreds—thousands indeed—of Charles’ letters,See Spanish Calendar of State Papers. that’s the only likeness in which I recognise him.

I’ve been spending all my spare time on the old Spanish Calendar. As I think I told you, it was a question of either buckling to and doing it now, or of abandoning to someone else the task of completing the series to the death of Mary: three volumes. One is complete, all printed and in the binders’ hands. The second is with the printers, and I am receiving galley proofs. The third I have ready to go to the printers as soon as the second is out of the way. Working on them has rekindled all my passion for the subject, and I now spend every moment I can spare at the Bibl. Nat.Bibliothèque nationale, Paris. trying to fill in the many gaps that still subsist in my own knowledge of Charles and his reign.

Bill is being worked hard at the EmbassyWilliam Royall Tyler served as public affairs counselor for France (1948–1954) at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. but enjoying it, and from all I hear doing a good job. The bratsRoyall Tyler (b. 1936) and Matilda Eve Tyler (b. 1939), the children of Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. are getting used to me, and I to them, gradually. I think the change and let-up have done Betsy a lot of good, in spite of a disagreeable bout of the ‘flu-cum-sinus, which she is only now coming out of.

Elisina is better, but still needs rest and quiet.

RattonCharles Ratton (1897–1986), a Parisian art and antiquities dealer and collector. Ratton studied at the École du Louvre before the First World War and was initially interested in medieval art. In the 1920s, he became interested in the “primitive” arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. He established shops in Paris at 76 rue de Rennes, 39 rue Laffitte, and 14 rue de Marignan. tells me he has another ivoryThis ivory has not been identified. coming along: a fragment of a consul diptych, and that he’ll show it to me as soon as it’s his. I’m afraid that the market here has dried up woefully, what with exchange and travel difficulties. But it may revive. France’s recovery is proceeding apace, I’m very hopeful that it will continue.

Much love to you and Robert, dearest Mildred,

GrowlerMildred Barnes Bliss’s nickname for Royall Tyler.