NEWS - Museo Bicknell's Centenary Exhibition

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

lotto 2017 egypt sketches 1890 clarence bicknell"Clarence Bicknell – In the Past for the Future"centenary exhibitions

Exhibition at Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri & Museo Bicknell, Bordighera

Report by Graham Avery, Vice-Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association (the "written by" credit above is provided by default by our web structure Joomla: Marcus onlo uploaded Graham's piece).


This exhibition organised by the Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri and the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera was inaugurated on 18 July 2018, to celebrate the centenary of Clarence Bicknell’s death. The exhibition is presented in an impressive way, partly in the building of the IISL and partly in the Museo. It is an admirable tribute to the man who founded the Museo, and a ‘must’ for anyone interested in his life and work.

lotto 2017 luigi pollini oct 1900lotto 2017 egypt column 1890 clarence bicknelllotto 2017 mahdi photos 1904In a brief review it is not possible to describe all the interesting material displayed, and in this note I mention only some of the highlights. One of the outstanding features of the exhibition is the quantity of new material relating to Clarence (documents, photographs, books and other objects) which the Museo has recently acquired. This collection is described as ‘Lotto Bicknell 2017’, and since some of it evidently belonged to Clarence’s faithful assistant Luigi Pollini, one may guess that the collection was preserved by his family. There are some excellent photos of Pollini such as the one on the right.

Photos of Clarence's dog Mahdi in 1904

Ornate column in Egypt, watercolour by Clarence in 1890

Clarence’s faithful assistant Luigi Pollini in 1900

A fascinating display panel ‘Viaggi Esperantisti, Viaggi vicini e lontani’ (Esperanto Travels, Travels near and far’ shows how Clarence travelled to many countries in Europe and elsewhere, through his interest in Esperanto, botany, and archaeology. Valerie Lester’s biography Marvels: The Life of Clarence Bicknell recounts these travels in more detail: for example, Clarence went to Esperanto World Congresses in Boulogne, Geneva, Cambridge, Cracow and Paris; he did not, however, visit Tasmania or New Zealand.

lotto 2017 hanbury botanists meeting 1912Among the material from Lotto Bicknell 2017 are many photographs, including Album 5 with 172 photographs of Bordighera, the Maritime Alps, flora and soon, all in excellent condition. In this album, for example, is a photograph of Villa Garnier, Bordighera, around 1900, from which it can be seen that many of these photographs were annotated by Clarence Bicknell’s friend Fritz Mader, who was a prolific photographer as well as alpinist, botanist, speleologist, geographer and author.

A display panel ‘Bicknell e lo spirito esperantista’ shows a fascinating photograph of Clarence and others at the Esperanto World Congress in Cambridge in 1907.

A display panel ‘Bicknell’s world e Bicknell’s friends’ shows participants in a botanical congress at Hanbury Gardens, La Mortola, in 1912, including Clarence Bicknell and other botanists whom he knew such as Augusto Beguinot (Clarence’s first biographer), Fritz Mader, Alwyn Berger (Curator of Hanbury Gardens), Otto Penzig (Professor of Botany at Genova), as well as Eva Mameli (mother of the famous author Italo Calvino). Image right

Associated with this panel is a remarkable display of letters and documents from scholars and others entitled ‘Le lettere del mondo dei studiosi a Clarence Bicknell (Lotto Bicknell 2017)’ [Images 10-12]. The persons mentioned in this display are:

Antonio Magni 1844-1933, medico, archeologo e storico di Como
Gabriel Gustafson 1853-1933, archeologo, scopritore della nave di Osemberg
Burkhard Reber 1848-1926, archeologo, botanico e farmacista svizzero
Emile Carttailhac 1843-1921, studioso di preistoria francese
Henri Ferrand 1853-1926, avvocato, geografo e alpnisita francese
George Coffey 1857-1916, archeologo e nazionalista irlandese
Alberto Pelloux 1868-1918, mineralogista italiano
Antomio Taramelli 1863-1939, archeologo noto per i suoi studi in Sardegna, and
Luigi Pollini, braccio destro e amico di Clarence Bicknell.

It is to be hoped that these interesting letters, together with the rest of the important material acquired by the Museo, will be catalogued and made available to the research community.

Submitted by Graham Avery 25/07/2018

Note from Marcus Bicknell. The exhibition has had good reviews and a certain amount of publicity in the press and on television. Here are two stills from San Remo TV which reported in full on the exhibition and the Clarence Bicknell Centenary.


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