Count Alfred Potocki’s Westley Richards .318 Carbine.

Count Alfred Potocki .318

Count Alfred Potocki .318 left

It is always nice to find rifles with good provenance and the Potocki family certainly bring that. This .318 carbine rifle is very nice in a few ways, we don’t see many surviving Westley Richards rifles in this original carbine format, rarely when we do will they have the original telescope and pouch. To have it in its original case and with provenance is the icing on the cake in this instance. This rifle was built for the 3rd Count Alfred Potocki who inherited the family estates during the first world war and who was reputed to be the wealthiest man in Europe. Descendent of William the Conqueror, godson to Kaiser Wilhelm II, this final Count Alfred was related to virtually all the royalty of Europe. Though land and legal reforms in the 1920s stripped him of some of his inherited properties and noble priviledges, Count Alfred was believed by some to be the wealthiest man in pre-Second World War Europe. Educated at Oxford and Vienna, Alfred traveled the world visiting royalty, hunting on safari, collecting impressive works of art to add to his palace collection and tending to his many properties throughout the continent. In the years before World War II, royalty and the super-wealthy dined, hunted and vacationed at Count Potocki’s palace and his several impressive lodge houses throughout the area.

Sport in Somaliland by PotockiAn original copy of Sport in Somaliland. Photo courtesy of Safaripress.com

Another famous member of the family Count Józef Potocki (1862-1922) inherited his mother’s estate in Antoniny, while his elder brother Roman was master of Łańcut. A man of remarkable talent and energy, he turned the 55,000 ha property into a very profitable entreprise. His gains financed the expansion of a stud via acquisitions of new stock in Egypt, India and the Middle East, which brought him in contact with Anne & Wilfred Blunt. His true passion however was hunting. Józef organized several remarkable expeditions in the 1890s to India, Ceylon, Somaliland and later to the Sudan, recounted in beautifully bound and illustrated books. One of them was translated in English under the title “Sport in Somaliland” and this book remains one of the most expensive and collectable books in the big game hunting department, often commanding prices in excess of £6000,  a copy of which I have never ‘manned up’ enough and bought!

Alfred Potocki Ledger Entry .318

Westley Richards .318 Carbine _318-WR-Catalogue-Page

This rifle is detailed on our used gun site but I am afraid sold in the time it took me to get this post uploaded to the site. Westley Richards .318 Carbine Rifle.

4 thoughts on “Count Alfred Potocki’s Westley Richards .318 Carbine.

  1. Good Day Simon,

    What a treaure of a find Sir!!! Talk about a rusty ole nail of a gun. I have never seen one of these Westley Richards rifles before…Carbine. If my poor memory serveds me you advertise one in your catalog? But one of this vintage is really something special. The rings are different also, having never seen a set on one of yor guns like this? Allow me to say I have not had the pleasure of seeing all that many Westley Richards in person, most have been on your Blog. All that said this is a very special gun on many levels. I also like very much the way the rear sights and the front site have bands around them….nice touch!!! Good find and thank you for sharing this treasure with your followers Simon.

    In Christ
    Vance,

  2. I am more familiar with shotguns but I believe I see two triggers on this rifle. Could you please elaborate for the uninitiated ? Thanks.

    • The 2 triggers indicate a ‘set’ trigger which is operated by first pulling the rear trigger which sets the front trigger at a very light pull weight. You then take the shot as normal with the front trigger which will be very sensitive to the touch. A means towards more accurate and precise shooting. The front trigger will also discharge the rifle if not set but requires more pull to release.

  3. Very interesting! I do have the copy of the book, very nice reprint indeed. Among the few who hunted all the iconic somaliland endemics like Spekes’s gazelle, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Dibatag and many more. He was hunting here a lot in the former Monarchy.
    Cheers, Lajos

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