By Anne Blunt. Edited by Lyman Doyle.
Unpublished. British Library. The text below has been transcribed from copies of the original handwritten journals.
Lady Anne (1837-1917) and Wilfred Blunt (1840-1922) were personal friends with several of the protagonists of the Skowronek saga including the Sangsuzkos, the Potockis, and the Shcherbatovs. The personal journals of Lady Anne Blunt give readers an invaluable perspective on the Sanguszko and Potocki herds from which Skowronek’s blood originates. From the Blunt’s descriptions of their interactions with the Potockis and Sanguszkos as recorded in Lady Anne’s Journal we learn the following:
- Lady Anne liked some of the horses she saw at Antoniny and Chrestowka and had a desire to purchase some of them. Despite this, the Blunts never purchased any horses from the Sanguszkos or Potockis. The Blunts main interest in developing the relationship appears to cultivate potential European customers for their own horses.
- The Potocki’s branded their horses as “chevaux pure sang arabs” – pure blood Arab horses, something that were not. The Russian Stud Book of 1903 also makes this same point. During the Blunt’s visit to Antinony certain horses are declared as pure but Lady Anne later discovered they were nothing of the sort.
- After studying the pedigrees of the Antoniny herd Lady Anne concluded that the only “purebred” horse on the farm was Pharoah, a horse the Blunts sold to Potocki. She saw horses at Antoniny which had the same root ancestors as Skowronek and possibly even saw his granddam Epopeja.
- Lady Anne looked carefully at the Antoniny Stud Books and even admired their organization. She even used the design of the Antoniny Stud Book for her own travelling copy of the Crabbet Stud Book.
- The Potockis knew about the history of the Sangsuzko stud written by Roman Sangsuzko Sr., the maternal grandfather of Roman and Joseph Potocki Jr. Roman Potocki even told Lady Anne that he would send the Blunts a copy of the history. There is no indication in her journals that Lady Anne ever read a copy of this document.
- Lady Anne comments about how strange it is that Roman Sanguszko Jr’s horses only being 2/3 Arab is quite interesting. It is certainly strange given that these horses were marketed as “chevaux pure sang arabs” – pure blood Arab horses when they were not.
Excerpts of her personal journals concerning the Potocki, Sanguszko, and Sherbatov families follow:
The earliest known connection between the Sanguszko/Potocki family and the Blunts occured in 1882 when Roman Potocki visited Sheykh Obeyd in Cairo. Roman Potocki (1852-1915) was the son of Alfred Józef Potocki (1822-1889) the owner of the Antinony Stud at the time. Roman Potocki would have been 30 years old at the time of his visit to Cairo. She writes in her journal on January 28, 1882.
“The Count giving us his name and address (card Le Comte Roman Potocki, Haras du Prince Roman, E. Sanguszko, appartenant actuellement au Cte. Potocki, chevaux pure sang arabs—address; p/Buody o/Antonin, Szepetowka Gouvernement Volkyrie, Russie) and promising to send an account of the Polish-Russian Arabian stud written by his grandfather.”
When they returned to England the same year, Count Joseph Potocki Jr. (1862-), brother of Roman mentioned above visited them in July. Joseph Potocki Jr. would have been 20 at the time of his visit to Crabbet. LAB writes in her journal on 21 July, 1882.
“Count Potocki, a younger brother of our acquaintance of the winter, came with a friend, this morning to see the stud. He has arrived straight from Lemberg and said that his brother being engaged to be married in November could not go so far away from his bride—and besides the stud belongs to himself—this younger brother. He wants to buy a horse not having had a fresh importation for five years—I should like him to have Pharaoh.”
Joseph Potocki visited the Blunts again that summer. LAB writes in her journal for August 15, 1882.
“Count Joseph Potocki came to luncheon and to go round the stud. He is satisfied with Pharaoh and wanted to see what we had got of his stock. He is in England for a few days and will visit his brother Count Roman Potocki (who is married) and is a Cowes, and then return home. He wants to persuade us to go to see his stud on the way out which we should like to do. But Lemberg seems out of the way although he says the “Blitz” train goes through it from Paris to Constantinople.”
In the spring of 1884, the Blunts returned to Crabbet from their winter travels in India and Cairo and were visited by Alfred Józef Potocki (1822-1889) and his older son Roman. LAB writes in her journal from April 19, 1884.
“Carriage went down to meet Count Potocki. Count Potocki is the father of C. Joseph (who bought Pharaoh) with his elder son, Count Roman, whom we met in Egypt and a ‘subordinate’ Pole M. Markowski ‘who has a connection with the studs at the Branicki family in Southern Russia,” of the Potocki’s party, who looked at each member of the stud with the eyes of owners and breeders and possibly purchasers. Count Roman promised to come again to see us and to bring his sister Countess Branicka in the summer.”
Lady Anne and Wilfred traveled to visit the Potockis in the fall of the same year on their way to Egypt. LAB writes from in her journal from September 22,1884.
“At one o’clock stopped at Lancut and were met by Count Joseph Potocki and his brother-in-law and two carriages and in the hurry of getting out and pleasure of meeting, Wilfred left his little red pillow in the train. Countess Alfred Potocki—whom I had not seen before—was a Princess Sangsuzko and through her somes the Sanguszko stud. Her father Prince Sanguszko was many years at forced labour in Siberia. When he became quite deaf and ruined in health he was allowed to come back. He died 3 years ago—there seems to be no improvement in the state of Russia under the present Emperor. Count P’s son in law says that in his part of the country the govt. does all it can to torment them and would like nothing better than thus to drive them out of the country.”
A week later of travel to Russia and they arrive in Antonin. LAB writes in her journal on September 28, 1884 as the Blunts begin to look at the horses there.
“First to the home stables just across the yard. Here, besides a number of horses of mixed race, in work, and the two teams of greys—all pure blood, there stand Pharaoh, Palatine and Cyprian, the 3 stallions now in use at the stud. All the horses were brought out to show us. There were several. I did not care much for several of mixed Engl. Thor. And Arab blood which I shall not mention. Of 3 year olds the best was a bay named Cabul. Pharaoh, altogether improved looking splendid. He knew me again when I spoke, though I was offering him sugar….There is also in this stable a fine black mare Traviata, daughter of Tourbillon son of Ferukh Khan, a horse bought from the Persian Ambassador of that name at Paris. F.K. was a dark bay or brown and there is a question whether the black color comes from the Persian blood or from a black horse named Shumka in the stud at Nepolean’s time and represented in the water colour portrait of Prince Eustache Sangsuzko (at Lemberg). Shumka is declared to be of pure blood. Several of his descendants have been black and there are now besides Traviata 3 or 4 black mares in the Stud. I don’t like and of them so well as the white mares and one or two of the younger bays and the 3 chestnuts Swietna, Lisboa and Vervena.”
Lady Anne writes again on the same day a more detailed account of the horses she saw.
“1st stable: white—Melodia, Anusha (spelt Anusia) x sire Sherif, Epopeja by Hadudi, Liga by do, Fialka by do, Najea by Dervish, Fortuna by do.” She continues later “Some pedigrees of the mares at Antonin. Unfortunately it seems that most of them are faulty having a flaw some generations back.” She comments again, “…by Shumka II (Szumka II) out of Beyanka, Shumka II by Kheylan out of ‘Polka.’ Here the pedigree is lost to view, the previous part being in older book kept under lock and key by Coutess Potocka. Polka sounds like a Polish mare and Shumka II is a doubtful sire. The Shumkas, (Presumably Szumka I and Szumka II) and the Kerukh Khan strain added to the Engl. Crosses of John Bull and Anna form a considerable stain in the pedigrees we have looked through.”
Finally she concludes, “The details given above of some of the pedigrees were written down while listening to Wilfred’s questioning Count Potocki about them looking over the Antonin Stud book in the evening. They were difficult to make out as Ct. P was translating from the Polish in which they are kept. But enough was clear to show that there is not one without a flaw – and this is even if we assume all the imported horses to have been right. But hardly anything is known of most of these, the best attested in Wilfred’s opinion is ‘Hamdani.’ The result however is very interesting as in spite of the cross blood we here see the distinct Arab type, and the mares are a splendid collection and appear to be remarkably sound.”
She continues her observations of the Antoniny herd on September 30, 1884.
“What a pity there have been any English stallions kept here, for now it is very difficult to find one quite pure—and it is only by carefully looking through their pedigrees that Count Joseph is beginning to know himself which are correct and which not. If I were in Count Joseph’s place I would not have any English stallion about the place. But he had more than one and this last year a mare was put ‘by mistake’ to one of these English horse. I should very much like to have something from this stud if we could find a pure one for sale. I wished I could have made a picture of the herd of mares grazing on the edge of the oak forest. It was a lovely sight—for looking at them in that way one could not see the flaws of descent.”
On October 1st Lady Anne makes her most definitive statement in her journal about the purity of the horses at Antonin.
“The intendant caissier and the director of the Stud dined, looking over the Stud Book found that hardly any one of the mares but has a cross in her pedigree – it would therefore be absurd to us to buy anything now; perhaps later on if one of the finest were for sale one might buy her as a specimen, but a colt from any of these would not be valid for breeding. Palatine is the same, here is the flaw in his descent from Shumka II if not otherwise. In fact, Pharaoh seems to be the only actually pure bred Arab here.”
The Blunt’s first meeting with Prince Roman Sangsuzko Jr. was in 1889 in Hungary. Lady Anne writes in her journal on March 21, 1889.
“Then Wilfred had a long talk with Prince Roman Sangsuzko about horses and promised to enquire (through me) about the 3 horses bought in Egypt for the Prince by his brother in law Count Thorn who got them through a Count Zaluski who employed a certain Zimmerman—horse dealer—one grey said to be from Ahmed Pasha.”
November 10, 1899.
“My letter from Prince Sanguszko was an account of the death of poor Bint Azz from a broken leg. She was turned out it appears, anyhow she jumped a ditch, and broke the leg and died leaving no produce. He also told me he has bought an old horse called Mes’ad that was the one sent from the Hejaz to Ali Pasha Sherif (who never bred from him, not being I suppose certain of his origin) and the horse was sold for 11 pounds at the first A.P.S. auction. Prince S. says his produce are good. As the Prince asked for W’s views on the new Russian Stud Book project, I left the letter with W. to answer.”
December 24, 1899.
“This day W. replied to Prince Sanguszko’s questions giving his opinion. This was advice to keep his own Slawuta Stud aloof from the new Russian Stud book Arabs as that long established Stud could gain nothing and might lose by being merged into the general official enterprise. It is strange that Prince Sanguszko should be above to prove only 2/3 of Arab blood as certain in his breed whose pedigrees have been carefully kept for 75 years.”
Princes Sanguszko and Scherbatoff also visited Sheykh Obeyd in 1902. This is a year before the 1903 Russian Stud book was published which placed the Sanguszko horses in Part 2 of the book. Separate from the pureblood Arabian horses in Part 1. One has to wonder about the conversations between the Sanguszkos and Scherbatoffs on this trip to Egypt. Certainly, the Russian Stud book project was a topic of conversation. Lady Anne’s entry from February 24, 1902 reads:
“Settled about the mares being cleaned up a little in view of my expected visitors. These were Prince Sanguszko and 2 nice nieces, and Prince and Princess Scherbatoff. The last with one of the Sanguszko nieces came on horseback, the other by train. We had tea and then walked out to the mares. Prince Sanguszko specially liked Kerima, next to Gazieh, however also Shieha, Wujra, B. Fereyha, Wubbr, but he had a generally appreciating manner for the whole lot. He told me he had seen a grey horse belonging to Ibrahim Bey Sherif that was from Ali Pasha Sherif Stud. It is 8 years old, colour of Wujra—still quite grey. Mutlak says the sire was Ibn Nadir. The Russian party came 4.30 and left at 6. They all mean to come again, I believe—Prince Sanguszko and nieces, after a Nile voyage.”
Lady Anne gives this detail about the Antoniny Stud books that she examined almost 25 years previously. She writes in her journal on February 18, 1911 from Egypt.
“I showed Prince M.A. my travelling copy of the C. Stud Book and he was delighted at the form of keeping it (learned from Ct. Potocki)—so that I am to give him a pattern sheet.”