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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, September 28, 1929

29, Rue d’Astorg
Paris.
28.IX.29Saturday.

I am sending you herewith, dearest Mildred, photographs of a collection of 60 odd Scythian objects, all bronze, which Kalebdjian has.On August 27, 1929, Royall Tyler purchased fifty Scythian, Sino-Siberian, and Avar objects (BZ.1929.9–58) for the Blisses from Kalebdjian. Thirty-three of these objects were retained in the Byzantine Collection at Dumbarton Oaks Museum: BZ.1929.9–17, BZ.1929.20, BZ.1929.22, BZ.1929.24–42, BZ.1929.48, BZ.1929.51, and BZ.1929.58. See letter of May 16, 1930. The sixty Scythian objects referenced in this letter were not acquired. See letters of October 12, 1929; December 14, 1929; December 15, 1929 [1]; December 15, 1929 [2]; and December 17, 1929 [1]. They are most of them small, but of great interest and variety, as you will see. He asks 60,000 francs for the lot. He is holding them pending an answer from you, so please wire whether or not you want them.

A titre d’indication,“As indicated.” all the Scythian objects Kaleb. had, and which you didn’t buy,The Blisses acquired fifty Scythian, Sino-Siberian, and Avar objects (BZ.1929.9–58), of which thirty-three were retained in the Byzantine Collection at Dumbarton Oaks Museum: BZ.1929.9–17, BZ.1929.20, BZ.1929.22, BZ.1929.24–42, BZ.1929.48, BZ.1929.51, and BZ.1929.58. have been bought by Kelekian, who is asking for them twice or more what Kaleb. asked. Not that I blame the old boy—he has had to pay for his education, God knows, and he’s an old marvel. By the way, John Hugh SmithArnold John Hugh Smith (1881–1964), an American expatriate banker, art collector, Francophile, and friend of Henry James and Edith Wharton. He was the director of Hambros Bank in London. His collecting interests were similar to those of Royall Tyler. He gave a fragment of a French Gothic sandstone Crucifixion (M.10-1955) to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, in 1955 and Bronze Age and eighteenth-century weapons in 1956. After his death, the Fitzwilliam Museum received the Hugh Smith Bequest, which included ancient Egyptian carved stone vessels (E.1-5.1964), fourteenth-century pottery and alabaster Persian bowls and sculptures, two French Romanesque limestone capitals (M.1 and 2-1964), a late twelfth-century marble sculpture of a man’s head (ascribed to the Master of Cabestany; M.3-1964), a head of the Bodhisattva Avolkitesvara, and paintings and sculptures by Rubens, Gericault, Hogarth, Pissarro, Renoir, and Matisse. has bought Kelekian’s two last Romanesque capitals,Capital with David and the Virgin Mary, French, twelfth century, limestone, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, M.1-1964; and Capital with Grotesque Masks, Eagles, and Foliage, French, twelfth century, limestone, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, M. 2-1964. and his Gothic Christ,Fragment of a Crucifixion, French, fifteenth century, sandstone, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, M. 10-1955. £3,550 for the three (hush! hush!)

Bill’s last analysis showed him completely free from Koch bacilli,Koch’s bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), the causative agent of most cases of tuberculosis. It was first discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch (1843–1910). See letter of August 11, 1929. but SmolizanskiDr. Léon Smolizanski (1882–1944), author of L'albumine dans les crachats des tuberculeux (Paris: Jouve, 1911). says one can’t regard him as out of the wood until he has been free of them for 3 consecutive months, so patience!

Here I am in my office. I wish you could see it as Elisina arranged it. It’s a joy to work here.

Much love, dearest Mildred.
R. T.

Mallon isn’t back yet.

 
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères
Associated Artworks: BZ.1929.9-58