MAN OF MARVELS – CLARENCE BICKNELL was the title of the talk by Renchi Bicknell given to The Glastonbury Positive Living Group on November 15th 2018. But the material on Dr John Goodchild of Glastonbury and general practitioner in Bordighera, the BlueBowl, which many claimed is the Holy Grail, and the relationsip with Clarence Bicknell makes fascinating reading.
Renchi Bicknell is the great grand nephew of Clarence Bicknell. He is the son of Peter Bicknell, Cambridge architect and lecturer, who looked after the Bicknell collection of Clarence Bicknell books and drawings until his death in 1995, and who wrote in 1988 a mini-biography Clarence published on the www.clarencebicknell.com web site. Renchi is an artist and writer living in Glastonbury with his wife Vanessa. His approach to life and his spirituality put Renchi in an ideal position to assimilate Clarence Bicknell’s character and soul. His portrayal of Clarence in the 2016 film documentary The Marvels of Clarence Bicknell by French director Remy Masseglia was therefore more than convincing; his resemblance to Clarence is also uncanny (movie poster, right).
With this in mind, this account of Clarence and Dr Goodchild of Bordighera and Glastonbury takes on a powerful significance. Is this what Clarence would have believed about the Blue Bowl? It is certainly a more emotively told story than laying out academic research.
At the evening in Glastonbury, Renchi addressed a crowd of the faithful, mostly those who live with, and communicate, the beliefs concerning Glastonbury, Joseph, the Holy Grail, the Blue Bowl, the Chalice Well and the Tor. The audience found themselves involved with the subject not just with the projection of the film and Renchi’s text, but also with silences, exploration of the mind, an imaginary walk up the Val Fontanalba and hands-on experience of rubbing the rock engraving reliefs reproduced in wood for the occasion. Of the forty events during Clarence Bicknell’s 2018 Centenary this was the most characterful.