Count Potocki of Montalk
A collection of his Books, Manuscripts, Letters, Photographs and Ephemera gathered by Terry Risk
In 1973 I began thinking about what a private press is and how I might have one myself. I went to Britain and had the good fortune to meet a number of printers who showed me with great enthusiasm their work and their letterpress machines. One in particular was Alex Frizzell, a bookseller who lived near the small village of West Linton, south of Edinburgh. In September of that year I was hired to teach a class of young children at Cannes on France’s Mediterranean coast. Before I left, Alex suggested that I try and meet the eccentric Count Potocki of Montalk who was living and working somewhere in France. He searched for his address and gave it to me: the Villa Vigoni, Draguignan, Var. Neither Alex nor I had any idea where that was, but once I arrived to take up my duties, I asked one of my French colleagues if she had heard of Draguignan. It came as a considerable surprise when she told me it was only an hour away. With a week free in October, I wrote to the Count asking if I might visit him then. His reply was intriguing, and, as I was to learn, characteristic of his extravagant personality. It included a detailed, hand-drawn map and very clear directions (see item 64 below). Towards the end of October on a clear, brilliant day I made my way by train and then bus to Draguignan. From the center of the city I walked about three miles to the Villa Vigoni. I returned for another visit in December and then again the following Summer. From Potocki himself I began to collect his books and ephemera. Later I added many more items obtained from friends and acquaintances, especially colleagues in the bookselling world.
Unless stated, all items signed or inscribed are by the Count Potocki himself. I have made every effort to be complete and accurate in the descriptions, but if more information is needed, please get in touch.
Books and Pamphlets by Potocki
Count Potocki of Montalk was born in New Zealand and from an early age believed himself to be a poet. In 1928 he went to England where he hoped to establish his reputation. But things took a bad turn late in 1931 when he wrote a poem inspired by the sexual frustrations of a friend. His attempt to get this printed brought him into conflict with the English judicial system. In a famous case he was convicted at the Old Bailey and sentenced to serve six months during 1932 in Wormwood Scrubs Prison. It was a humiliating experience, but it gave him material for what I believe to be his best work (item number 2 below). Later he came to the obvious conclusion that the only way he could get his thoughts out would be to print them himself. With the help of influential friends he was able to buy a printing press in 1936 and begin his long career as a private press printer. His periodical, The Right Review, was his most notable achievement.
2. Snobbery With Violence, A Poet in Gaol. Wishart & Co. London: 1932. 54 pp. sewn into printed wrappers. 19 x 12.8 cm.
3. Lordly Lovesongs, Poems. Columbia Press Limited. London: 1931. 28 unnumbered leaves. 4to. Cloth. Number 7 of 100 signed copies. 26 x 19.5 cm.
4. Prison Poems. The Montalk Press. London 1933. First edition. 48 pages. Cloth. 18.8 x 12.8 cm. Signed on title-page.
5. The Right Review. London/Draguignan: 1936-1979. 19 issues. Sewn into printed wrappers. [All except for numbers 18 and 19 had belonged to his friend, Richard Aldington. With a note by Terry Risk stating its provenance.]
6. Whited Sepulchres, Being an Account of My Trial and Imprisonment for a Parody of Verlaine and Some Other Verses. Right Review. London: 1936. 26 unnumbered leaves. Bound in printed wrappers. 23.3 x 16.5 cm. Inscribed to Richard Aldington and dated 20 June 1945.
7. Mel Meum. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1959. 46 pp. Cloth. 22.3 x 14.7 cm. Inscribed for Terry Risk and dated: 29th and 30th October 1973.
8. Jim Goodleboodle, ex-convict [pseud.]: The Fifth Columnist, A Short Story. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1960. 40 pp. sewn into wrappers. 21.8 x 14 cm. Signed on the title-page.
9. One More Folly. The Mélissa Press. Plush: n.d. 16 pp. sewn into wrappers. 20.2 x 13.6 cm.
10. The Whirling River. The Mélissa Press. Plush: 1964. 44 pp. Wrappers. 20.9 x 13.3 cm.
12. Thomas Hardy From Behind & Other memories. The Mélissa Press. Plush: 1965. 16 pp. sewn into printed paper wrappers. 20.9 x 13.6 cm.
13. The Blood Royal of England Scotland Ireland Wales & Other Countries in the House of Potok through Macalister with supplementary Tables showing the Scots ancestry of Bourbon-Deux Siciles, Colbert, Zamoyski & Czartoryski. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1966. Folio. Red cloth imprinted. 48 pp. 30 x 22.5 cm.
14. Meillerie. Cuckoo Hill Press. Pinner: 1966. 170 copies printed by David Chambers. 8vo. Cloth. 10 unnumbered leaves. 12.5 x 13.3 cm. Signed by Chambers on colophon page.
15. Prince Bobowski [pseud.]: Guinness Is Good For You, A Christmas Jingle. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1968. 16 pp. Quarter cloth. 21.2 x 13.6 cm. Number 33 of ? copies. Signed.
16. Dogs' Eggs, A study in Powysology, Part Two. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1971. First edition. 32 pp. Quarter cloth. 21 x 13.7 cm. With the bookplate of Geoffrey Farmer.
17. Dogs' Eggs, A study in Powysology, Part One. The Shack Press. Draguignan: 1972. Number 26 of 150 copies. 36 pp. Quarter cloth. 21.4 x 14 cm. With the bookplate of Geoffrey Farmer.
18. Myself as a Printer. Illustrations by Rigby Graham. Brewhouse Press/Daedalus Press. Stoke Ferry: 1970. 1 sheet folded, laid in printed wrappers. Limited to 240 copies. 27 x 19.8 cm. Inscribed for Terry Risk.
19. Check-list of publications by or concerning Count Potocki of Montalk, Part 1 & a note concerning His Most Christian Majesty. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1974. 20 pp. sewn. 22 x 16 cm. Special edition of four copies.
Ephemera Written and/or Printed by Potocki
Potocki printed out of indignation, quickly without skill. Frequently something would irritate him—opinions he might have heard or read—so he would write a paragraph or two about them. These need not have been directly related to himself, as the examples here show. A different category of printing were the Saturnalia cards he would send to acquaintances at the end of the year. Very occasionally other private press printers would publish a poem by him, nicely but frivolously.
21. A Lesson in Magic. London: 1947 (?). One sheet folded twice. 22.2 x 14.5 cm.
22. Friends and Friends. Draguignan: 1950. Card folded once. 11.5 x 17.5 cm. Christmas greeting. Inscribed for Terry Risk.
23. A Poem. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1954. Single sheet folded once. 20.8 x 13.4 cm.
24. Columbus Discovers Ireland! The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: undated. 8 leaves glued. 21.2 x 13.5 cm.
25. Sète. [Printed by David Chambers. Pinner: 1960.] One sheet folded. 21.5 x 13.2 cm.
26. Parsons Pretend. Plush: 1962. Single sheet. 20.2 x 12.7 cm.
27. Clara Petacci. Plush: 1964. Single leaf. 20.2 x 12.8 cm. Signed.
28. To the would-be unifiers of the Churches. Plush; 1964. Single leaf. 20.2 x 12.7 cm. Signed.
29. Poem for the Feast of Saturn and the Rebirth of the Sun. 1966. Card folded once. 11.2 x 14 cm. Inscribed for Terry Risk.
30. Letter to Har vey [sic]. Undated [Plush: 1960s]. 8 pp. glued. 21 x 13.5 cm.
31. Wilson's Straw Seed. Plush: undated [1960s]. Single card. 9.9 x 14 cm.
33. The Polish Daily Prefers Lies. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: undated [1960s]. 12 pp. sewn. 21 x 13.5 cm
34. Poem for the Feast of Saturn and the Rebirth of the Sun. Draguignan: 1968. Card folded once. 10.4 x 15.4 cm.
35. Memorandum. Draguignan: c. 1970. Single sheet folded. 21.5 x 13.8 cm. Inscribed for Terry Risk.
36. The Jinx. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1972. One of an “unbound issue for free distribution” (an additional 115 numbered copies were also printed). 8 pp. sewn. 21.7 x 13.8 cm.
37. Our Verdict. The Right Review. Draguignan: 1973. 12 pp. sewn. 21.5 x 13.9 cm. One of 200 unbound copies (plus 124 numbered copies). Signed as "Wladyslaw, R."
38. The Right Review. Draguignan: 1973. One leaf folded. 21 x 15 cm. Prospectus.
40. To a Girl of Thirty-one. Cuckoo Hill Press. Pinner: 1977. Single leaf tipped into folded wrappers. 15 x 10 cm. Limited to 90 copies. Printed by David Chambers.
41. Tu quoque. Balinakill Press. Wellington: n.d. Single sheet. 21 x 14.8 cm. Numbers 7 and 8 of 20 copies.
Books with Contributions by Potocki
42. Adam Mickiewicz: Forefathers. Translated into English Verse by Count Potocki of Montalk. Foreword by Professor Wiktor Weintraub. The Polish Cultural Foundation. London: 1966. 8vo. Pp. 288. Cloth. 22.1 x 14.5 cm. This copy has been altered by Potocki who changed the publisher's name to: "The Royal Polish Cultural Foundation". Draguignan. Tipped-in is a 4 pp. article: Potocki versus Polish Cultural Foundation Ltd. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1970. The text of the book is hand-corrected by Potocki; there is also an inscription for Terry Risk.
43. Count Potocki of Montalk: Recollections of My Fellow Poets. Prometheus Press. Auckland: 1983. 34 pp. Paper-bound. 20.9 x 14.7 cm. With prospectus laid in.
Works by other Authors printed by Potocki
44. Adam Mickiewicz: Forefathers. Translated from the Polish by H.M. The King of Poland [i.e., Count Potocki]. Bookham: [1930s]. 36 pp. Quarter cloth. 22.3 x 14.4 cm.
45. Adam Mickiewicz: Forefathers Part II. Translated from the Polish by H.M. The King of Poland [i.e., Count Potocki]. The Right Review. Bookham: [1930s]. 15 leaves sewn into stiff card wrappers, with printed dust-wrapper. 21.7 x 13.6 cm. Limited to 160 copies.
46. Adam Mickiewicz: Forefathers Part III. Translated from the Polish by Count Potocki of Montalk. Translator's Note and Foreword. The Right Review. London: 1945. 78 unnumbered leaves. Bound in imprinted cloth.
47. Richard Aldington: A Tourist's Rome. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1960. 24 pp. sewn into printed wrappers. 21 x 13.8 cm.
48. Richard Aldington: Balls, Another Book for Suppression. The Mélissa Press. Draguignan: 1962. 16 pp. sewn into printed paper wrappers. 21 x 13.5 cm.
49. R. Lydekker: A Trip to Pilawin, The Deer-Park of Count Joseph Potocki in Volhynia Russia. Rowland Ward. London: 1908. Small 4to. Cloth. Pp. xiv, 118, (ii). Illustrated. 22.8 x 17.5 cm.
50. Cedric, Count Potocki: Zloty Potok: The Golden Torrent I to XXX. Caduceus Press. London: 1934. 32 pp. Stiff printed wrappers. 25.5 x 16.4 cm. [Cedric was Potocki's younger brother who adopted many of his pretensions, including the long hair.]
51. Alec Craig: Above All Liberties. George Allen & Unwin. London: 1942. 8vo. Cloth. Pp. 206, (ii). 20 x 13.5 cm. Inscribed by Alec Craig on first free end-paper. With an autograph signed postcard from him laid in. The book includes a 22-page chapter, "The Strange Case of Count Potocki of Montalk," which is about the trial at the Old Bailey in 1932.
52. Rigby Graham: "Potocki". In The Private Library, Quarterly Journal of the Private Libraries Association. Edited by Roderick Cave and Geoffrey Wakeman. Volume 8, No. 1, Spring 1967. Wrappers. 21.5 x 14.2 cm. Inscribed by Potocki for Terry Risk.
54. John G. Garratt: "Choice of the Gods" (review of It Is the Choice of the Gods by R. T. Risk). In Antiquarian Book Monthly Review. London: Volume VI, Number 7, Issue Number 63, July 1979.
55. Count Potocki of Montalk: reply to a previous review. Antiquarian Book Monthly Review. London: Volume VII, Number 3, Issue 71, March 1980.
56. R. T. Risk: a) reply to both John G. Garratt and Count Potocki. Antiquarian Book Monthly Review. London: Volume VII, Number 5, Issue 73, May 1980. b) Typed signed letter from Julian Bingley of A.B.M.R. to Terry Risk. London: 26 March 1980. c) Carbon copy of the reply by Terry Risk. [Francestown]: 17 March 1980.
57. 6 poems by Count Potocki in FP 8. Edited by V. Bonhorst. London: [1980s]. 50 pp. stapled into printed wrappers.
58. "No Cats in the Bible" (poem), "The Squatters" (article), "A Note on the Coloured Population of England" (article), "The Horrors" (poem), "Theosophists Debate" (poem), "All Goddes Creatuires Swive by Kinde" (poem), "Saint Wladimir" (poem). In FP. London: [1980s]. 15 pp. stapled into wrappers.
59. John Gawsworth, A Polish Perspective. In The Romantist. 1982. Edited by Steve Eng. Photocopy.
Unpublished Works by Potocki
60. The Right to be Heard, from the autobiography of Count Potocki of Montalk. 38 pp. Typed and hand-corrected in ink. Undated. 29.7 x 21 cm.
61. More Beauty Than Wisdom. Autobiography. 44 pp. Typed and hand-corrected. Undated. 29.7 x 21 cm.
62. The Rector of Stiffkey. 1956. 52 pp. sewn into four gatherings. 29.8 x 21 cm. Hand-corrected.
63. Maurras. Undated. 22 pp. stapled. Typed and hand-corrected. 24.4 x 21 cm. (Paper browned; staples rusted; splash on front cover.)
Correspondence between Potocki and Terry Risk
65. 22 typed and signed letters, from 19 October 1973 to 24 May 1978.
66. Envelopes for the letters above.
67. "Folio of publications, photographs etc. relating to the Polish Throne". Undated. 2 pages, typed. 29.8 x 21 cm.
68. Postcard, signed Wladyslaw, R. (sic, when he wanted to be dismissive). Verso: Paysages de Provence. July 1976.
69. Letter from Cathleen Owen. 7 June 1974.
70. 21 carbon copies of letters from Terry Risk to Count Potocki.
71. Original typed signed letter from Terry Risk to Count Potocki. Dated 22 July 1978. With envelope. (Potocki returned this without opening it.)
Letters from Potocki (and others) to David Low
David Low was an English bookseller well-known for his shop at 17 Cecil Court, London, where in 1936 he met Count Potocki who had come in to hawk copies of his Right Review. Later David moved to a house in the village of Emmington, Oxfordshire. His memoir, with all faults (Amate Press. Tehran: 1973), includes a chapter "By Royal Appointment" about Potocki. I met him in the 1970s and we talked a good deal about the Count.
72. 6 typed signed letters, from 8 September 1971 to 26 April 1973, all photocopies.
73. Typed signed letter from David Low to Terry Risk, Emmington: 28 May 1975.
74. Typed signed letter from Ann [?] to David Low, Truro: 2 May 1979. Concerning a neighbor's cousin in Italy (presumably Ignazio Vigoni).
75. From Ignazio Vigoni: a) Typed signed letter to David Low. Milano: 23 March 1979. b) Photogravure of “Villa Belvedere à Blevio au Lac de Como.” c) Typed signed letter to David Low. Menaggio: 5 July 1979. d. Typed signed letter from Ignazio Vigoni to Terry Risk. Menaggio: 3 August 1979.
Letters to Robin Waterfield
Robin Waterfield was a bookseller in Oxford. His correspondence with Potocki came about because of the book by his friend David Low which he published, as the Amate Press, from Tehran.
76. 7 typed signed letters to Robin Waterfield: from 19 August 1968 to 3 June 1973.
77. Saturnalia cards, with envelopes: 2 of the same from 1968, both signed.
78. Saturnalia card, with envelope, from 1971. Inscribed for Robin Waterfield.
Letters to Richard Aldington and Alister Kershaw
Potocki kept a small collection of books by Richard Aldington near his bed, in a prominent place. This was unusual because he had scant regard for the work—or the reputations—of his contemporaries. But Aldington, he said, was one of the finest men he had ever met. They were brought together in the 1940s by the American communist Walter Lowenfels, at the latter's flat, in Paris (although another story was that they met at the famous Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Company). They kept in touch and when, a few years later, Potocki established himself at Draguignan, Aldington did him a good turn by solicitating some money from friends so he could buy a printing press. And it was also Aldington who suggested the name, The Mélissa Press, melissa being an herb, often called bee balm, and the nymph in mythology who discovered how to take honey from bees. Potocki's girlfriend in Switzerland was nicknamed "Honey", hence the significance of the appellation.
Alister Kershaw was another admirer of Richard Aldington. He met him in Paris in late 1947 or early 1948 and became his friend, secretary, benefactor, and literary executor. Unbeknownst to Potocki it was Kershaw who actually handled the collection of money for the printing press.
79. Photocopy of a typed and signed letter to Aldington, dated 2 January 1963 (?).
80. Carbon copy of a poem by Potocki: "Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero". With autograph inscription by Potocki in ink, dated 3 December 1966.
81. Two typed, signed letters to Kershaw. Draguignan: 17 February and 23 June, 1970.
82. Photocopy of a typed and signed letter from Richard Aldington to Count Potocki. Sury-en-Vaux: 20 May 1960. With Potocki's autograph note in ink at the top stating: "These photocopies were made from my file on the 17th December 1973 with my permission, for Mr. Terry Risk." The letter includes a "List of words and phrases cut from the original edition of Death of a Hero, and never yet restored in any edition or language."
Letters to Selwyn Kittredge
Selwyn Kittredge was an American academic. He appears to have got in touch with Potocki to ask about Richard Aldington: how they met and what memories he had of him. However, the correspondence with Kittredge gave Potocki a chance to write—and complain—about his life at Lovelace's Copse in the 1960s, and that is what so interesting about them.
83. 9 typed letters, all photocopies, from Potocki to Kittredge. Plush: from 10 August 1964 to 27 October 1965.
Miscellaneous Letters from Potocki
84. Letter from Count Potocki to Steve Eng: photocopy of typed letter. Written from Chesières, Switzerland: 16 June 1982.
85. Letters from Count Potocki to Mrs. Mary Coleman: a) Photocopy of typed signed letter. Draguignan: 24 May 1960. b) Photocopy of autograph signed (as "Wladislaus") postcard. Draguignan: postmarked 1960.
The Proposed Tour
Potocki dreamed of making a speaking tour of American universities similar to the ones undertaken by Dylan Thomas. He enlisted my support in this but insisted he would behave with much more decorum and not steal his hosts' shirts, as Thomas famously did. I offered to help. The whole story is disclosed in the following items. Needless to say, the effort was futile, and nothing came of it. The only response we got from anyone was belatedly from Roderick Cave.
86. Carbon copy of the draft for the tour prospectus.
87. R. T. Risk: Count Potocki of Montalk, Poet, Private Printer, Pamphleteer, Journalist, Pretender to the Throne of Poland. Brochure, folded twice. Florida: . Announcement of the tour which never happened.
88. Contract for the tour: a) Typed contract, signed by R. T. Risk (dated 22 April 1974), and signed by Count Potocki (dated 27 April 1974). b) Typed draft of the contract.
89. Typed, signed letter from Roderick Cave to Terry Risk apologizing for delay in replying. Jamaica: 8 July 1974. Additionally, two typed signed letters, writing from the University of California, Los Angeles (and carbon copy replies): a) November 15, 1999, and b) December 16, 1999.
The Sale of an Archive
Potocki asked me to sell a small collection of items in the United States believing that it would fetch a high price there. It did not, however.
90. Four typed signed letters from F. W. Roberts, Director, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Austin: 11 June 1974 to 16 October 1974.
91. Carbon copy of invoice from R. T. Risk. St. Petersburg: 15 August 1974.
92. Memorandum Order from The Humanities Research Center. Austin: 29 July 1974.
93. Letter, possibly a draft, from R. T. Risk to The Librarian, University of Texas. St. Petersburg: undated. Typed, but not signed.
94. Carbon copy of letter from R. T. Risk to F. W. Roberts. St. Petersburg: 15 July 1974.
95. Two postal receipts.
96. Checklist of the archive, with 25 items listed.
97. Document: a) "A Selection of Personal Letters to Count Potocki of Montalk (Currently in the possession of the Count)". Typed, with a listing of letters from 22 individuals. a) Two photocopies of the same.
98. "Information Sheet". List typed by Count Potocki of his own translations: from Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, Old Saxon, Italian, Provençal, French, German, Polish, and Hungarian.
Letters from Theodora Gay Scutt
Theodora Gay Scutt, a.k.a. Susan Powys, was Potocki's daughter by a woman named Sally who later married Francis Powys, the son of Theodore Francis Powys and Violet Powys. As a child she was adopted by the elder Powyses and grew up not knowing about her real father. When she did discover who he was, in her twenties, she wrote to him and that led to an invitation to visit him at Draguignan (item number 99).
Much later I had the good fortune to meet her. I had gone to Dorset to see if anything remained of Lovelace’s Copse where Potocki had lived in the 1960s. I found it without too much difficulty, for it still bore the same name. But it had changed all out of recognition. An expensive new home had been built on it, evidently by absentee owners. I was somewhat disappointed, but not to have wasted the effort to get there I decided to call in at the neighboring farm and ask if anyone had memories to share. In this way I learned, to my considerable surprise, that Theodora lived in the village of Henley, only a mile or two away. A short while later I knocked on her door and introduced myself as a "friend" of Count Potocki of Montalk. She gave me a hard stare and said, "Well, that is not a recommendation in your favour, but do come in." From that moment we became good friends. I often returned to visit her, and we explored Dorset together, including the places she had known from her childhood with the Powys family and then with her father when he came to stay with her.
99. Photocopy of a letter written by Count Potocki to his daughter, Susan Powys [Theodora Gay Scutt]. Switzerland: post-marked 22 September 1960. The title is: "For Susan/Itinerary of French Holiday". It chronicles where he took her on her first visit to him in France.
100. Letter from Theodora to Terry Risk. Autograph signed letter, Henley: 10 May 1990.
101. Three customs forms filled out by Count Potocki. Draguignan: 25 August 1969. [Explained by Theodora in her letter of 10 May 1990.]
102. Letter from Theodora to Terry Risk. Autograph signed. letter, Ballinamore: 8 January 1998. [After the death of her husband, Bernard Scutt, she moved to Ballinamore, Ireland.]
Relating to Lovelace's Copse
When Potocki met Theodora it became clear to him that both she and her mother were in financial difficulties. So he resolved to go to Dorset to sort out their problems. In this way he lived with them for several years in the mid-1960s. The place was Lovelace’s Copse, a small farm owned by Theodora in the village of Plush. Accommodation was primitive, in a cramped house trailer and small out-buildings, yet Potocki found a printing press and began to issue his work. But his time there was vexing for all involved. Among other things, he quarrelled with Violet Powys and that led to the libellous books which he called Dogs' Eggs (see items 16 and 17 above).
103. One typed signed letter from the Manager of the Westminster Bank Limited. London: 28 December 1965. Confirming the cancelling of a Banker’s Order for one guinea payable annually.
104. Correspondence with solicitors: a) One typed signed letter from Potocki to Mr. Yates, of Messrs. Watts Moore & Bradford, Yeovil. Plush: 8 October 1964. (poor condition), b) Photocopy of the same, c) One letter to Messrs. Watts, Moore & Bradford. [Plush]: 28 May 1965. Possibly a carbon copy, but corrected and annotated in ink by Potocki (poor condition.), d) Photocopy of the same.
105. Powys Will: a) Carbon copy of Last Will and Testament of Theodore Francis Powys (not signed or dated and in poor condition), b) Photocopy of the same.
106. Memorandum of Agreement: a) Carbon copy of Memorandum of Agreement between Mrs. Violet Rosalie Powys of Mappowder, Susan Theodora Powys, Count Potocki of Montalk. Not signed, but in Potocki's hand on verso: "Copy of Will of T. F. Powys" (poor condition) and b) photocopy of same.
Letters to Terry Risk about Potocki
108. From Stephanie de Montalk: a) Typed signed letter. Edinburgh: 10 February 1983, b. Typed signed letter, Wellington 18 November (?), c) Autograph signed letter. Wellington: 18 September 2001.
109. Letters from June Vallyon [Potocki's grand-daughter]: a) Autograph signed letter, Wellington: 7 December 1975, b) Autograph signed letter, Auckland: 3 January 19(?).
110. From Robert Petre [the Curator of the Special Printed Collections, Alexander Turnbull Library]: Typed signed letter, Wellington: 20 February 1998.
111. Correspondence between D. A Callard and Terry Risk: a) Typed signed letter from Callard [no place, no date], b) Carbon copy of reply by Terry Risk, Francestown: 28 October 1992.
112. From Terence Hodgson: a) Autograph signed letter. Wellington: undated, b) Typed signed letter. Wellington: 8 February 1982.
113. From Walter Partridge [an English private press printer]: a) Typed signed letter, Sutton Mandeville: 22 January 1982, b) Typed signed letter, Sutton Mandeville: 5 February 1982, c) Autograph signed letter, Sutton Mandeville: 23 February 1982.
114. From Steve Eng. Typed signed letter, Nashville: 28 December 1981.
115. From John Macalister [a Potocki partisan from New Zealand]: a) Typed signed letter, Wellington: 12 June 1980. b) Typed signed letter, London: 4 September 1981. c) Typed signed letter, London: 27 February 1982.
116. From K. C. Gay [the Curator of the Poetry Collection, State University of New York at Buffalo.]: a) Typed signed letter, Buffalo: 28 May 1975. b) Typed signed letter, Buffalo: 9 June 1975.
117. From Wanda Henderson [Count Potocki's daughter]: a) Autograph signed letter. Norfolk Island: 13 May 1976. b) Autograph signed letter, Norfolk Island: 18 May 1976.
118. From Lord Moyne [Bryan Guinness and the subject of one of Potocki's lampoons]: a) Autograph signed letter, Andover: (post-marked: 7 February 1976). b) Autograph signed letter, Hampshire: 19 March 1976.
119. From Lawrence Durrell: Typed signed card. Corfu: undated (post-marked 23 February 1976 and mailed from Sommières, Gard, France).
120. From Stanislaw Gliwa [Gliwa was a fine private press printer from Krakow, Poland, although after the War he spent the rest of his life in England where I often met him. Please see my article in The Private Library: Spring, 1979.]: a) Typed signed letter, New Eltham: 24 October 1977. b). Typed signed letter, New Eltham: 7 January 1978. c) Typed signed letter, New Eltham: 6 July 1978.
121. From George J. Bort. Autograph signed letter, Thornton Heath: 1 January 1981.
122. To and from Philip Hobsbaum [Professor of English at Glasgow University and a collector of the works of T. F. Powys]: a number of e-mails from 2000 and 2001.
Terry Risk on Potocki
123. Carbon copy of an obituary written by Terry Risk about the relationship between Count Potocki and Richard Aldington. To Norman Gates, Haddonfield, New Jersey. Francestown: 19 March 1998. [Norman Gates was the editor of the New Cambridge Literary Society Newsletter which is devoted to the life and work of Richard Aldington.]
124. Terry Risk: "The connection between Potocki and Richard Aldington". In New Canterbury Literary Society Newsletter. Vol. 26, No. 2. Summer 1998. Edited by Norman T. Gates. 4 pages, folded. 28 x 21.5 cm.
125. E-mails by Terry Risk to Graham Macklin: a) Francestown: 15 November 2002, b) Francestown: 19 November 2002.
Articles about Potocki
Potocki kept an album with an extensive collection of newspaper articles about himself, many of which were garnered by a "clipping agency". I have no idea whether the following were included in it. They were found and saved by me. In addition, I noted and copied various references to him whenever I came across them.
126. Photocopy of a clipping from [The Times. London: 9 February 1932. Page 14]. "Lecturer Sent to Prison, Charge of Uttering an Obscene Libel. Sentence of six months imprisonment in the second division was passed by the Recorder at the Central Criminal Court yesterday on Geoffrey Wladisla Potocki de Montalk, 46, described as a lecturer [sic]." (Actually Potocki was aged 28 at the time, and of course his name was Geoffrey Wladyslaw Vaile Potocki.)
127. Clipping from The Star. London: 14 January 1942. "Not Treated as a Sovereign".
128. John Macalister: "Kiwi count who claims to the King of Poland". Wellington: 6 September 1980. Two copies of an article in the New Zealand Herald.
129. Various published mentions of Count Potocki by people who encountered him. Often there was only faint praise for him, such as in an article from The Spectator in 2004. Some of this is photocopied, although the latter is original.
130. Pages from various booksellers' catalogues listing Potocki's works for sale.
131. Copy of photograph of Potocki taken in late 1905 or early 1906. With Potocki's (as Wladyslaw R) autograph inscription in ink on the back.
132. Original black & white photograph of the naked Potocki worshipping his sun god, Apollo. [London: 1930s].
133. Photographic reproduction by Terry Risk of a photograph of Potocki with very long hair and wearing his robes. [London: 1930s].
135. Black/white photograph of Potocki by Theodora. [Provence: 1960s]. 12.4 x 8.8 cm.
136. Color photograph taken by Theodora of Potocki working on the Villa Vigoni. [Draguignan: 1960s]. 8.9 x 12.3 cm.
137. Three color photographs taken by Theodora: two at the Villa Vigoni and one of herself feeding a calf at Lovelace’s Copse. [1960s]. 8.9 x 12.3 cm.
139. Photographic reproduction by Terry Risk of a picture taken by Theodora of Potocki and Richard Aldington at the latter’s home. [Maison Sallé, Sury-en-Vaux, France: 1962].
140. Seven black/white photographs of life at Lovelace’s Copse. [Plush: 1960s]. 8.8 x 12.4 cm.
141. Three black & white photographs of Theodora. [Dorset: 1960s]. 8.6 x 8.8 cm.
142. Two photographs from June Vallyon: ). One black & white photograph of June and Imre Vallyon. 6 January 1973.12.7 x 8.7 cm., b) One black & white photograph of Manu-Ra Imre Vallyon. August 1975. 13.9 x 9 cm.
143. Photographs taken by Terry Risk at the Villa Vigoni [Draguignan: 1973]: a) Color photograph of Potocki and his companions Cathleen Owen and her son Gwilym. 8.8 x 12.5 cm., b) Four black & white photographs of Potocki, Cathleen and Gwilym. 12.8 x 17.8 cm.
144. Color photograph of Cedric Potocki. Flayosc [Portugal: early 1960s]. 8.8 x 12.3 cm.
145. One Linotype slug found in Dorset: TO VARIOUS AYATOLLAHS AND GURUS [sic]. 12 point x 8.9 cm.
146. Stephanie Miller: “Activist didn’t count the cost”. Sunday Star-Times: 4 May 1997.
My letter to Alex Frizzell shortly after meeting Count Potocki
The day after I was with Count Potocki—Monday 29 October 1973—I wrote to Alex Frizzell and related what he had told me. A copy of that letter has recently come to light; it was in my archives, in a manilla file folder along with all the correspondence I had with Alex over the years. Some of my impressions might be of interest now. It ought to be noted that although I was as accurate as possible, with a fresh memory of the remarkable Count, clearly much of what he said was braggadocio.
…at seventy [he] is sill alive with determination to forward the royalist cause and to seek redress for perfidious treatment towards him by the English over the past half century. Listening to him these past two days has been an extraordinary experience for me, and I must admit feeling overwhelmed by the colour and richness of the reminiscences he entertained me with, nonstop.…
The Count was born of mixed ancestry in New Zealand. His father and greandfather were prosperous gentlemen in that “pig island,” but the claim to the Polish throne was not forgotten even in that part of the world, and their contemporary offspring had worked hard to make everyone recognize the legitimacy of the claim. His patrilineal ancestors the Count has traced straight back to Edward III of England, among others, and even beyond. His mother's family is Scottish, MacAlister at one point and Buchanan (my clan) at another. One interesting point in all this is the possibility that his grandfather (i.e. his mother's father) might have been Lord Tennyson, although this, if true, is not recorded in fact [nevertheless, he believed it].
When he was a young many of about 25 he threw up a possible career as a successful lawyer and judge to live in England as a printer and a ruffler of feathers to those in power. He has always espoused the royalist position, saying, I think, that rule by kings is a good thing and much preferable to rule by proletarians; he heaps much scorn on Democracies in this respect. He had gotten into considerable trouble over his advocacy of royalism. He even went to goal over his outspoken support for Edward VIII. He has often dressed in crimson robes and black velvet beret of the Polish aristocracy. He wore these particularly in court, and as he let it be clearly known that he is the King of Poland he did not endear himself to the judges at the Old Bailey. One judge said, on the contrary, he was the king of humbugs. The Count brought a libel action against the judge for this.
The Count feels that the Polish have been very shabbily treated by the English, and during the war he said many things which were taken to be pro-German or even Nazi sentiments. This lead to a long incarcertation in another gaol. He also refused to be inducted into the British army and by a series of delaying-tactics he escaped inscription altogether. He was not a fascist (he is a royalist), but he felt Hitler treated Poland better than did the English. He thinks Churchill was a greater scoundrel than Hitler. At least, as he says the Germans can be relied on to whatever their horrible logic dictates, while the English obfuscate always.
The Count began printing in the early 30s [actually in 1936]. His horoscope—for he is an astrologer and magician as well—predicted clearly that he would be a printer. He began in London with a simple flat bed press. Eventually he found a “proto-Adana” cranked by hand. He has always printed pamphlets, propaganda, and poetry, both satirical and serious. He claims that only one tenth of his written work has been published, and his tribulations with publishers, notably the Polish Cultural Foundation, have resulted in lawsuits.
He is still an active writer. Now he is completing his autobiography in order to counteract the lies and half-truths bandied about by others. One example is in David Low's account of his career as a bookseller [‘with all faults’ The Amate Press: 1973]. In this Low claims that Potocki gave him (Low) the honour of being bookseller to the Polish royal court. This Potocki hotly disputes; he says there never was any such understanding given. He also believes that he has been about the worst treated writer in history, far worse than “Solzhenitzyn, who is a mere novelist anyway.” He thinks of himself as a Byron of sorts—and certainly not like his maternal grandfather, Tennyson. He says of Tennyson that he had great gifts but nothing to say; he (Potocki), in contrast, has great gifts but much to say.
The Count speaks a dozen languages which he has taught himself. He is a pagan and every morning he prays in Latin and Hungarian to one of the pagan gods.
About twenty-five years ago he left England to settle in the south of France, where he was able to buy a pice of land and two ruined cottages very cheaply. He has been restoring these slowly ever since. Unfortunately, he has never had the money to do the restoration in a “professional” manner. What is completed now is fairly rough, although adequate to the Count's needs.
I left the Count with a strong sense of obligation. I think I must return with a taperecorder and get down all his conversation which is so fluid and brilliant. I couldn't remember much of it, and the spark of enthusiasm is hard to record here or in my own way. He also needs to publish a great amount of material: poems, essays and accounts of the unusual people he has known ([Jan] Paderewski, Aldous Huxley, T. S. Eliot, and many princes and members of the nobility). So this is a challenge for me, and as I know he liked me (he said as I was leaving that I was a good advertisement for America), I think I could easily induce him to talk freely about his past life. He would not inhibited by the machine and his memories are clear and detailed.
[I did in fact return to visit him twice, in December that year for another day or two and then the following summer for a longer stay. I never was able to bring a taperecorder. Nonetheless, he continued to regale me with his stories, until, that is, I was no longer a good advertisement for America. Eventually I did my best to describe him and to recount my minor role in the Potockian drama and what came of it.]