Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, November 16, 1937

Finance Ministry

Budapest

16th November 1937.

Dear Robert,

I am sending you herewith enclosed a photograph of a Seldjuk textile,This Seldjuk textile has not been identified. which BurgDr. Hermann Burg, a dealer in London at 32 St. James Street. sent to me a couple of days ago. I have just received a wire from Bill as follows: “Victoria and Albert have turned down Seldjuk silk strongly recommend purchase £400”.

I am writing Bill to send you all particulars about the silk: its colours, dimensions, and where it came from. It certainly is very attractive. The drawing of the animals and of the leaves is lovely. The price asked seems to me a bit high in relation to that of a piece of Seldjuk silk with figures,Two fragments depicting Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Byzantine, ca. 700–1000, silk, Victoria and Albert Museum, acc. no. T.93-1937. The fragments were formerly in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Düsseldorf. from Dusseldorf, which the Victoria and Albert bought from Burg some time ago. However, it is true that the piece with figures is of a type of which many examples exist, while I personally do not remember having seen anything like the one that is being offered at present. You will no doubt get more light on the thing from Bill.

I am enclosing a letter from Géjou.Isaac Élias Géjou (d. 1939), an Armenian antiquities dealer in Paris. He wrote to me some time ago about his spoons,BZ.1937.35–42. which you will remember, and I think I wrote to you about them at the time.See letter of January 9, 1937. The last time he mentioned any price, it was still £3000, which seems to me to be grossly exaggerated. If you wanted to make an offer one might perhaps try him at £500 or £600.

I was horrified by the prices fetched by the Byzantine things at the Guilhou sale.Catalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). It is dreadful that No 460BZ.1947.15. should have fetched £1120. I am very much disappointed that you failed to get things like Nos. 473, 453, 455, 528, 533 and 548. There is some slight consolation in your having got No 456BZ.1937.26. for £30, and 499BZ.1937.28. is certainly a very important historical ring.

I have no news from Bustros.Elias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. I wrote to him a week ago telling him that I could not keep the offer for the marriage beltBZ.1937.33. open indefinitely, and asking him to let me know immediately whether or not he had obtained permission to export, and sent the thing off. I only hope that the prices reached at the Guilhou saleCatalogue of the Superb Collection of Rings Formed by the Late Monseiur E. Guilhou, of Paris, Comprising Rings of the Classical Period, Including Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Rings, Rings of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Times . . . Which will be Sold by Auction . . . on Tuesday, the 9th of November 1937, and Three Following Days (London: Sotheby and Co, 1937). See also Seymour de Ricci, Catalogue of a Collection of Ancient Rings Formed by the Late E. Guilhou (Paris, 1912). will not come to Bustros’s knowledge. I am particularly sorry you did not get No 455: it would have been very interesting to have with the marriage belt, as it is so close to it in style.

Much love to you both

R. T.