Saxifraga florulenta - Clarence's Ancient King

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saxifraga florulenta clarence bicknell genoaThe Ancient King, l’Antico Re, was the name used by Clarence Bicknell  and other botanists of the time between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for Saxifraga florulenta. Botanists and enthusiasts have always spent many patient hours in search of this rarity, and forever will. It is wonderful and exciting to find it in bloom.

saxifraga florulentaClarence's watercolour (image left) is in the collection at the University of Genoa where 3,428 of his botanical watercolours are stored alongside 10,146 pressed flower samples (herbaria). We thank Professor Mauro Mariotti for the copy and the reproduction rights

We are pleased to publish in English and Italian today a short article on the subject of Saxifraga florulenta by Elisabetta Massardo, photographer, mountain walker, amateur botanist and Companion of the Clarence Bicknell Association. You can download the paper (containing both the English and Italian versions) at the following link:

Click here: Saxifraga florulenta by Elisabetta Massardo 2021

The Ancient King, l'Antico Re, così venne chiamata da Clarence Bicknell e dagli altri botanici dell'epoca tra fine Ottocento e inizio Novecento. I botanici e gli appassionati hanno sempre speso molte ore pazienti alla ricerca di questa rarità. È meraviglioso e emozionante trovarla fiorita. Leggete il breve articolo della nostra amica Elisabetta Massardo con le sue foto e un acquerello di Clarence.

 L'Ancien Roi, "The Ancient King", était le nom utilisé par Clarence Bicknell et d'autres botanistes de la fin du XIXe et du début du XXe siècles. Les botanistes et les passionnés ont toujours passé de nombreuses heures à la recherche de cette rareté, et le feront à jamais. Il est merveilleux et excitant de le trouver la plante en fleur. Lisez le court article de notre amie Elisabetta Massardo avec ses photos, et une aquarelle de Clarence Bicknell de son Ancien Roi.

saxifraga florulenta 2 stages

Clarence’s Flowering Plants… scan available on Google Books.

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There is now a full PDF of Clarence’s Flowering Plants… available on Google Books free of charge.

Flowering Plants Plate 44 colour c correctedMy thanks to Max Leonard for letting me know. Indeed that is new to me and I am posting it to web and Facebook right now. The images are not in colour of course, but I have two originals and scans of many of the plates if anyone needs them.

Before Clarence's Time - Dr Henry in the Merveilles

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Gallica headingMax Leonard, mountain research, biker and Clarence Bicknell fan, write today to tell us "I found a digital copy of Dr Henry’s Ancien Glacier Métamorphosé en Monuments Carthaginois (1877), which was referenced by Clarence, in Gallica – I’m not sure when it was digitised, but nobody else seems to have found it, so I’m guessing it’s fairly recently. I’ve used Gallica before, they are digitising a huge amount and new things are always coming up."

The article is entitled "Une Excursion au Lac des Merveilles". Written in 1877, it was a year before Clarence first came to Bordighera and some 20 years before he found the Merveilles and made them his summer passion for 12 years to 1906.

Here’s a link:

Thank you Max

Clarence's Alps - the Cima Marta and the military buildings

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

martaNew member Max Leonard writes...

My writing about glaciers and the Merveilles will be a chapter in a book I’m writing for Bloomsbury, but maybe we can extract it or something for your site! There are plenty of interesting journal articles being written about the natural landscape and the engravings.

By the way, I was reading Margaret Berry’s diary you transcribed and posted as a PDF, and I can shed some light on a query you have/had (p7). The ‘Marta’ (and ‘Maiter’) she refers to is the Cima Marta (2,138m), in the Marguareis. This is south of Monte Saccarello and north of Monte Torragio, and the summit (AKA le Cime de Marta) is actually in France now.

However, the Balcone di Marta, near but not at the summit, is a ridge upon which are built several 19th-century military buildings – the Barracamenti di Marta. There’s a little on it here on the CAI Bordighera site.

I have done quite a bit of research on the military history of the border region. Briefly, Napoleon III supported Vittorio Emmanuele II (of the Duchy of Savoy and last King of Sardinia) in his bid to unify Italy. For this support, VEII ceded Savoia and the County of Nice to the French (ratified in a popular vote in 1860). Though the neighbours started off amicably enough, as Italy grew in power and confidence, the French realised they had a long undefended border to the east. And that border was a fudge: Tenda was a strategic jewel, which VEII had insisted on keeping, and Napoleon III had granted him continued possession of some of his favourite hunting ground around La Brigue (I think). As far as I understand it, this is in part why in Clarence’s day the border bisected the Roya valley twice (and still does once), when it would make far more sense that it follow the watershed ridge on one side or other. So in the 1870s, both sides began fortifying marta militarythis relatively new frontier – you can see the French works on the Massif de l'Authion, Col de Brouis, Monte Grosso and Mont Barbonnet (Sospel), Mont Agel (behind Monaco) and Fort de la Revère (Èze). In Italy, there are all the barracks at the Colle di Tenda, and then further south at Sacarello, Marta and the Colle di Nava. I think the French were more concerned that the Italians would try to take the county of Nice back than the Italians were that the French would invade. Indeed, Mussolini did make irredentist noises in the 1920s, prompting the construction of the Alpine extension to the Maginot Line. I wrote about that in Bunker Research.

Since that time, I’ve explored a lot more on the Italian side, including a lot of the old salt roads, but know relatively little about the Vallo Alpino. However, on my trip to the Merveilles last September I did scramble to three of the Italian positions, on the Baisse de Valaurette and in the Minière valley itself.

Clarence in Bordighera - women...

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I spoke about Clarence's circle of friends in my paper Clarence Bicknell – in Private. ( which I delivered in the Museo Bicknell, Bordighera on Saturday 20th July 2019. I mention them again here because a researcher asked me today about alice Campbell and I am happy to oblige.

Clarence’s life in Bordighera and at Casterino was full of women, right from the start. Clarence fell with enthusiasm into the thrall and into the social circle of not only Mrs Fanshawe (with whom he lodged) but also of her daughter Rosa Fanshawe Walker, who like her mother had been widowed in the previous few years. Rosa was an essential part of Clarence’s life in Bordighera; hardly a day goes by in Clarence’s first two years in Bordighera without Rosa being mentioned.

Louise Jopling, who stayed at the Villa Ruffini, was a painter, the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Society of British Artists, and a supporter of women’s suffrage. She was interested in botany and walking in the countryside, so she and Clarence were naturally drawn to each other.

Margaret Berry, née Serecold, was the wife of Clarence’s nephew Edward Berry. Clarence loved spending time with her and she was a great support to him in various ways. She brought with her a fund of humour, warmth, generosity and a sense of family; and she loved her new uncle dearly.

Nora and Linda Bicknell, daughters of Clarence’s brother Percy, began showing up at the Villa Rosa on a regular basis. Nora evidently thought highly of Bordighera, and made her home and her living there for several years, working as a clerk in Edward Berry’s bank, and she had her own business as a photographer and maker of greeting cards and calendars, often donating the profits from her sales to charity. She and Clarence later travelled together.

Esperanto caused Clarence to spend more and more time in the company of Rosa Junck. Born in 1850 in Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), Mrs Junck, née Bilek or Bilekova, had arrived in Bordighera in 1890.

Clarence had been hunting high and low for the perfect botanical pin with which to skewer his specimens when he first met Ellen Willmott, probably in 1901 at La Mortola, the home of Sir Thomas Hanbury whose impressive gardens cascaded down a cliff just outside Ventimiglia.

Mystery surrounds the Scottish lady whom Clarence first met in 1883 and saw again in 1897. Hard as we try, we cannot identify her, but it is possible that she is the Alice Campbell, whose relationship with Clarence is still much whispered about in Bordighera. But we have researched the story intensively and you can read the results at alice_campbell.pdf

Unlike the story of Alice Campbell, no mystery surrounds Baroness Helene von Taube, thanks to a lengthy and loving correspondence. Clarence met the amateur botanist Helene von Taube in late 1908 or early 1909, when she came to Bordighera from Weimar seeking warmth and sunshine for her ailing husband, Baron Otto von Taube.


Review of MARVELS by Malcolm Borthwick

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

Very insightful and interesting review by Malcolm Borthwick, an old friend through Susie's father:

I have just finished Marvels and enjoyed the read very much. The construction of the book is clever and given the subject there are moments when the tale reads at a quicker pace that others.

The setting of the Victorian zeit geist is a well trodden one and amply explained. But quickly the unusual aspects start to assert themselves hence quickens the readers interest. To make a fortune out of whaling (trade) means that Elnahan would qualify as a gentleman, albeit a nouveau one, but certainly not regarded at the time as upper class in that stifling Victorian way of society's hierarchy. But then both his religious background and artistic tastes immediately set him apart from the establishment. This individualism and wealth and the suggestion of Gladstonian liberalism in the background sets the scene for Clarence’s interesting background and ultimate irritation with the chattering classes of the day. The early chapter on religious revival and the Oxford movement I found the slowest reading but have to concede it is important to understand to appreciate Clarences future and maybe even his life long bachelordom.

The lack of joining the educational mainstream for social advancement (i.e. public school) to pursue power via politics or capitalism to end up as a wealthy young man in the natural sciences really fires up the readers interest. No clogs to clogs in 3 generations for Clarence.

One curious omission seems to me his lack of interest in what was going on in the UK given the passion for botany, developments of botanical gardens, arboreta et al at the time. All the more so with his connection to the Hanbury developments next door in the Mediterranian. For wasnt it a Miss Hanbury who made the unhappy marriage to Osgood Mackenzie who developed the extraordinary garden at Poolewe in Wester Ross which survives to this day. At the same time fortunes from trade (werent the Hanburys brewers) were develping arboreta and gardens in Scotland which had it’s own prestigious Botanical Garden in Edinburgh. The Balfours at Dawyck (South Arican traders) or the Youngers (brewers again) at Benmore, near Dunoon were all keen botanical developers given the gulf stream climate and substantial rainfall in Scotlands west, like Poolewe. To this day these gardens and arboreta are not only extensive but fasciatimg to visit. I wonder how they passed him by.

With the age of steam communications all of these develpments were much easier to reach than going to Ceylon, for instance. Even the West Highland line took you to within a mere gig ride of Mackenzie’s garden at Poolewe.

The endearing quality of Clarence is his boredom and prejudice with the chattering classes. But also his classless reationships with is employees. Luigi’s tribute makes a wonderful ending this remarkable life and the final demise makes a poignant end. One is left with a feeling of a life well led and he was surely a proto socialist in the best meaning of the word.

So Bravo to Valerie Lester and all of you for bringing Clarence to us in the 21st century. It must have been a fascinating project.



Happy Christmas from Clarence - a Christmas rose

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card christmas rose cBicknell's watercolour study of a Christmas rose (helleborus viridis) is part of a large collection of his botanical designs of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Bicknell, an alumna of Trinity College, had an impressive array of interests and in addition to being a member of the clergy, an amateur artist and botanist, also found time to write, and to study archaeology and Esperanto.

You can follow numerous postings of images like this on social media:



Casterino closed by floods - "Le Monde" 25 Nov 2020

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

« Là-haut, c’est “Shining” » : quatre irréductibles de Castérino, dans l’arrièrepays niçois, se préparent à un hiver coupé du monde

REPORTAGE | Les dégâts provoqués par la tempête Alex, début octobre, ont rendu très difficile l’accès à Castérino. A l’arrivée de la neige, ce bourg touristique de la vallée des Merveilles, dans les Alpes-Maritimes, sera isolé jusqu’au printemps. Quatre villageois ont fait le choix de rester.

Télécharger le reportage   Download the complete report in French

Butterflies, Bicknell and Art Nouveau - new paper from Elena Grafova

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Weigner Nature Studies and Compositions 1905We are pleased to publish a new paper by Elena Grafova, and ardent student of Clarence Bicknell, and a Graduate Student of the Russian Research Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage named after D.S.Likhachev, Russia, Moscow, Bersenevskaya, 20. The paper examines the role of the science of butterflies in the creation of the artistic images of Art Nouveau.

Download the article now at

Elena summarises her paper thus... "Studies of the natural world in the artistic and scientific aspects of the observations of the English naturalist and artist Clarence Bicknell, allow us to reveal an understanding of the contexts of European and Russian art Nouveau. His books on the flora of the Flower Riviera (Italy), the butterfly collection by Watkins & Doncaster which he acquired from naturalists from London, his herbariums and watercolor albums, in which he displayed the flora of Liguria (Italy) and gave detailed descriptions of plants, allow us to understand the way of thinking of artists and researchers in the field of botany and entomology of the time of «art nouveau»".

See also her paper on the Hanbury Gardens, Bicknell and the cultural impact.

All our research papers are at

BikeBick - La Ciclovia Bicknell from Bordighera to Limone

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BickBike cropWe warmly support this initiative to encourage people to use the cyle and walking path from Borighera up into the mountains... 80 kilometres of fresh air and the beauty of the mountains which Clarence knew so well. We have offered to the organisers and to Mayor of Bordighera Vittorio Ingenito, whatever help we cna usefully give.

 On foot or by bicycle from Bordighera to Limone in the footsteps of Bicknell

From the newspaper Il Secolo XIX, 26th October 2020

In the footsteps of Clarence Bicknell looking at the tourist revival of the west. The Ingenito regime in Bordighera has started a project, shared at the tourism table together with Confesercenti, the natural trail that runs from the coast to Limone Piemonte, which can only be accessed by bicycle or on foot. Eighty kilometers that from Montenero, passing through Moncene, Bajardo, Monte Ceppo, Rifugio Allavena, Colle di Sanson, la Brigue, Casterino, Tende, Baisse dellOur-Colle di Tenda, is partly alternative to the Via del Sale.

Several times the botanist Clarence took parts of the route for his research, merging archaeological studies with botanising in the nearby Maritime Alps, discoveries that made it possible for him to create the first museum in western Liguria in Bordighera in 1888.

The Bordighera administration will invest 33,000 euros in the project for now. "In Montenero we are already preparing the new bike park” - comments the Mayor of Bordighera Vittorio Ingenito – “The new project will enhance an important heritage that binds us to Piedmont and France". The Bicknell Cycle Route, proposed by the Tourist Comm Service, a consortium of Confesercenti, will be made official in March 2021 with twelve video clips broadcast on YouTube and published on various social networks and specific portals. The first edition of ride will be held in July 2021 and collateral events will be organized between March and October, including an exhibition in Bordighera and Tende (France). "In the programme - explains the council - is work, a thematic shop with schools" "The administration asked that the signs placed along the entire route bear the words Progetto Città di Bordighera to ensure a promotional benefit to the city. The initiative is being run by an ad hoc team in the town hall.

Ingenito and Confesercenti are ready to collaborate with other Municipalities so far unaware of the route and in two days of information they will present the proposal to the city (technical support will be provided by the Liguria region agency).


See also

In Clarence's Time - Esperanto Congresses

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

esperanto bordighera image1Clarence Bicknell, from 1897, was devoted to Esperanto as a universal language which would bring peoples of the world together.

He attended the first three Esperanto congresses (Bouogne 1903), Geneva (1906) and Cambridge (1907)), then Cracow in 1912 and Paris in 1914. By then, the rumblings of World War would have dominated the thoughts of the delegates and would frustrated their ideals.

We enjoyed this charming YouTube video of the Congresses sent to us by Helen Blanc-Francard. Thanks!

300px Poshtkarto kapitalismo rodo

Jules Masson Mourey and Nicoletta Bianchi; new paper on rock art

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

FDupfNGj 400x400We are grateful to Jules Masson Mourey for sending us the interesting paper on the rock art of the Mont Bego which he wrote with Nicoletta Bianchi. They are both good friends of Clarence Bicknell's family and well respected in their field. I had forgotten that Christopher Chippindale and Lawrence Barfield, both of whom I know, had proposed the "right of passage" interpretation of the graffiti engraved on the open surfaces of the rock; this paper further clarifies this possible meaning... "Either the teenagers climbed on the site to achieve their masculine status after gaining this place in their community, or such a social position was acquired following the realisation of this mark, on the occasion of a summer pasture."

MASSON MOUREY J., BIANCHI N. 2020, Moving beyond the Bego God. Some new remarks about the interpretation of the prehistoric engravings of the Vallée des Merveilles and the Val de Fontanalba (Tende, Alpes-Maritimes, France)

nicoletta.bianchiTheir paper is included in a bigger volume: BAZZANELLA M., KEZICH G. (dir.), Shepherds Who Write, Pastoral graffiti in the uplands of Europe from prehistory to the modern age, Proceedings of the 20th International Rock Art Congress, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Valcamonica, Darfo Boario Terme, Italy, from 29 August to 2 September 2018), Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, International Serie, S2999, pp. 37-53. The volume summary is "In a number of significant sites of the vast ancient pasturelands of the Old World, generations of wandering shepherds have left their testimony in the form of graffiti drafted on the rocks, sometimes in their tens of thousands, over a period of hundreds of years from ancient to modern times. The phenomenon is a conspicuous one, and has considerable significance for two reasons. On the one hand, the study of such pastoral graffiti may convey fresh ethnoarchaeological information as to the circumstances of the pastoral activities and the pastoral economy of the past. On the other hand, these signs, which can be often fully alphabetic as well as drawing upon ancient symbolic repertoires, can be of some aid in the interpretation of rock art as a whole genre of human expression, and projected back, in their significance and their modes of appearance, the earliest times of prehistory." It is available for sale at

We previously published a note on Jules Masson Mourey and two of his papers on archaeology, the intriguingly-named "Key Hole figures and ZigZag Arm anthropomorphs" and "the humans with their feet turned inwards, pieds bots"...

vallée des merveilles hemisJules Masson Mourey: Chercheur doctorant contractuel, Aix-Marseille Université - Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique (UMR 7269), Location Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône). Sujet de recherche: "La représentation anthropomorphe comme marqueur culturel dans le Néolithique d'Europe méridionale", sous la direction de Maxence Bailly (LaMPEA UMR 7269).

Nicoletta Bianchi is a Graduate Student at the Université de Perpignan-Via Domitia, Medi-Terra, in Neolithic & Chalcolithic Archaeology. Her doctoral thesis was "ART RUPESTRE EN EUROPE OCCIDENTALE: CONTEXTE ARCHEOLOGIQUE ETCHRONOLOGIQUE DES GRAVURES PROTOHISTORIQUES DE LA REGION DU MONT BEGO. De la typologie des armes piquetées à l’étudedes gravures schématiques-linéaires" at the Department of Archéologie et Préhistoire, Université de Perpignan, 2013.

Election of Companions of the Clarence Bicknell Association

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Companion logoThe Clarence Bicknell Association is proud to announce a new honour, Companion.

The Committee of our Association decided at its meeting of 28th July 2020 to honour a number of important people who have contributed to recording and publicising the work and culture of Clarence Bicknell around the world. We are pleased to announce today that the persons listed below have been elected as Companions of the Clarence Bicknell Association.

Each Companion has the right - but not the obligation - to cooperate closely with us by conducting research, writing papers for publication, participating in seminars, and other activities. We hope that each will continue to forge lasting ties with fellow Clarence-lovers, see light shone on their expertise and find a platform to share their insights with a wider audience. The input of new voices such these Companions will greatly increase the international visibility and impact of the Clarence Bicknell Association.

Among our new objectives is the aim to bring Clarence’s life and work into the digital age. Many cultural activities in the “post-Covid-19” era will be conducted by means of internet, Zoom, websites, virtual tours and other innovative applications. As funding becomes more and more difficult for museums and other cultural institutions, we believe that we can help to sustain and add value to them by inviting the public - worldwide - to enjoy the possibility of virtual access to Clarence’s heritage in various localities.

We also want to extend our field of interest by linking Clarence to other personalities who influenced the creative environment in his time - in Bordighera, the Riviera, Liguria, the Maritime Alps, and elsewhere. Topics could include George MacDonald, Ellen Willmott, Reginald Farrer, Fritz Mader, Emile Burnat, the British Tennis Club, Edward Berry, Charles Garnier, Georges MacDonald, Jane Morris, Louise Jopling, Italy’s Queen Margherita, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and others.We believe, as Clarence did, in sharing all our research publicly. Our website is a precious resource and we will continue to improve it. We plan also to increase our use of social media.

marcus signatureSigned on behalf of the Committee of the Clarence Bicknell Association,

Marcus Bicknell


Giuseppe Bessone, Bordighera: engineer, art collector, historian, writer and expert on Clarence Bicknell.
Julian Bicknell MA, London: architect (, writer, worked with the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture between 1990 and 2000, previous Master of the Artworkers’ Guild (
Mark Bicknell MA, Nettlebed, UK: Retired engineer, philanthropist, art collector
Sue Bicknell, London; supporter of Clarence Bicknell initiatives including the prospection of significant financial contributions from donors in the USA who have remained anonymous..
Dr. Raffaella Bruzzone MA, Genova and Nottingham: Research associate at the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, University of Nottingham, previous Marie Curie Fellow there, writer on botany, landscape and Clarence Bicknell.
Maddalena Cataldi, Paris: archaeologist, graduate student and writer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris, expert on the Vallée des Merveilles and Clarence Bicknell. 
Jean-Félix Gandioli, Nice, France: Master of Science, researcher and writer on botany, micro-climates, conservation and the history of botanists at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Nice, curator of the 2018 exhibition Les Botanistes au Sommet featuring Clarence Bicknell.
Dott.ssa Daniela Gandolfi, Bordighera: Director of the Istituto Internazionale di Studii Liguri and of the Museo Bicknell which it owns, archaeologist including a specialistion in marine sites, writer, museum curator, team leader Clarence Bicknell 2018 Centenary, expert on Clarence Bicknell and his work on the rock engravings of the Vallée des Merveilles. 
Caroline Hanbury, at the Hanbury Gardens at la Mortola, near Vintimiglia, Italy, organiser of the 2019 conference on Victorian on the Riviera which examined the relationship between Hanbury and Bicknell.
Prof. Mauro Mariotti, Genova. Professor of Botany at the University of Genova, UNIGE • Dipartimento di Scienze della terra, dell'ambiente e della vita (DISTAV), curator of the most important collection of Clarence Bicknell botanical watercolours, plant samples and archaeological records, director of the Hanbury Gardens, expert on Clarence Bicknell. 
Elisabetta Massardo, Genoa and Vernante (Italian Maritime Alps): mountain walker, amateur botanist, photographer, translator into Italian of MARVELS – The life of Clarence Bicknell by Valerie Lester.
Gisella Merello, Bordighera: historian, researcher, writer (for example the architect Charles Garnier e la Riviera, history of Bordighera and its buildings and people, The British Royal Family in Bordighera, Bicknell’s nephew Edward Berry), President of the Jury of the annual cultural award Parmurelu d’Oru, member of the Sezione Intemelia dell’Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri, team member Clarence Bicknell 2018 Centenary, member of the Associazione Amici di Winter.
Nick Ray MA, Cambridge, UK. Architect, writer (Alvar Aalto (2005), Rafael Moneo (2015), Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas (2005), and Philosophy of Architecture with Christian Illies (2014).), long-time Assistant lecturer at Cambridge University, Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge University, Honorary Visiting Professor in Architectural Theory at the University of Liverpool, Syndic of the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge 2015-2020. Descendant of Clarence Bicknell’s father.
Claudia Roggero, designer and PR specialist: worked in visual communication at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Padua, and in Coordinated Image and Exhibit Design at the European Institute of Design in Cagliari, member of the Committee for the restoration of the church of S. Ampelio, Bordighera, member of the Friends of the Clarence Bicknell Library and Museum, worked on the 2018 Clarence Bicknell centenary with the Istituto Internazionale di Studii Liguri.
Giovanni Russo, Bordighera: Expert librarian and researcher at the Istituto Internazionale di Studii Liguri, expert in Clarence Bicknell’s writings, art and the collection at the Museo Bicknell, Bordighera.
Ursula Salghetti Drioli Piacenza, La Mortola: botanical expert in Italian plant and garden associations, president of the Associazione per la Diffusione di Piante fra Amatori., council member of the Amici di Villa Hanbury and owner/garden director of the neighbouring Villa Boccanegra.
Humphrey Tonkin, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. President & University Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, University of Hartford, USA. President of the Universal Esperanto Association 1974-1980 and 1986-1989. Expert on Clarence Bicknell’s Esperanto hymns, poems, translations and activities in the Esperanto movement.. 
Tamsin Treverton Jones, St Leon sur Vezere, France: writer and poet, formerly Head of Press at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court Theatre and Bath Literature Festival. She has produced and presented features for radio, programmed literary events for digital broadcast and published two oral histories for The History Press. Windblown (2017) commemorates The Great Storm which struck Britain in October 1987.
Selby Whittingham, London: art expert specialised in the work of J.M.W. Turner, consultant to museums and institutions, secretary and founder of The Independent Turner Society and author of a number of books about art and museums. Expert on Clarence and his father, art-collector, Elhanan Bicknell.

The past and present committee members of the Clarence Bicknell Association are also named Companions, as follows.
Marcus Bicknell Chairman, Clarence Bicknell Association since 2013
Graham Avery Vice-Chairman, Clarence Bicknell Association since 2013
Susie Bicknell Secretary, Clarence Bicknell Association since 2013
Geoff Bicknell Treasurer, Clarence Bicknell Association, 2013-2018
Christopher Chippindale Committee Member, Clarence Bicknell Association since 2013
Maria Pia Luly-Jones Committee Member 2013-2017
Helen Blanc-Francard Committee Member, Clarence Bicknell Association since 2013
Vanessa Bicknell Treasurer, Clarence Bicknell Association
Titus Bicknell Committee Member, Clarence Bicknell Association
Renchi Bicknell Committee Member, Clarence Bicknell Association

Valerie Browne Lester (1939-2019), Committee Member 2013-2019 † In Memoriam,

To see an online list of our committee members, please click here:

or read complete biographies at

To see a copy of our updated statutes or objectives please click on

Clarence Bicknell Botanical Station, Marguareis, Italy

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In Italiano    In Englishmarguareis rododendro

The Bicknell Botanical Station at the Pian del Lupo, Parco Naturale del Marguareis, east of Limone Piemonte and about 15km northeast of Tende.

The  "Clarence Bicknell" botanical station is located in Pian del Lupo, near the Garelli Refuge, in the Upper Pesio Valley, at an altitude between 1970 and 2000 m and occupies an area of about 1 hectare. It preserves rare and threatened habitats including the most significant high altitude plant species of the Ligurian and Maritime Alps: in a nutshell a concentration of alpine and rare plants close by and for real, infinitely better than an Instagram image.

It hosts several very rare or endemic entities with a spectacular and unique flowering. Among the species present, the endemic species Senecio perdonii, Silene cordifolia, Saxifraga florulenta, Fritillaria tubaeformis subsp. moggridgei and Veronica allioni. In the peat bog wetland there are also the insectivorous species Drosera rotundifolia and Pinguicula vulgaris. A guided tour is open to all: the botanist, Ivan Pace, will meet visitors at the entrance to the botanical station on Saturday 4 and 18 July and 1 August, and the start of the hour-long botanical tour will start at 10, at 11.30 and at 14. Those who want to take advantage of this service will have to reach Pian del Lupo on foot and independently, after a walk of about three hours on a well-marked mountain path. An excursion that represents a classic destination for the hiker who frequents our Valley but who on this occasion is enriched with a very special visit that will make clear the great research and conservation work of the Plant Biodiversity sector, led with dedication by Bruno Gallino, conservative historian of the institution. A real treasure trove of biodiversity that our organization takes care of and preserves like a precious jewel of inestimable value.

marguareis visita guidataThe initiative is part of the animation and awareness initiatives in the alpine botanical gardens included in Jardinalp, a European project funded under the Alcotra 2014-2020 program, which involves 6 other partner managers of other botanical gardens in the western Alps: the Alpine Botanical Garden del Lautaret al Col del Lautaret (FR), the garden of the Conservatoire Botanique National Alpin of Gap (FR), the Alpine Botanical Garden Paradisia in Valnontey (Cogne- AO), the Alpine Garden Castel Savoia (Gressoney Saint Jean-AO), the Chanousia Alpine Botanical Garden (Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo -AO), the Saussurea Botanical Garden in Courmayeur - AO).

A waterproof and windproof jacket, long mountain trousers, trekking boots (dress with overlapping layers).

Information and reservations: Tel. 0171 976850 - 0171 978616 Tiu ĉi retpoŝtadreso estas protektata kontraŭ spamrobotoj. Vi devas ebligi Ĝavaskripton por vidi ĝin.
GUIDE'S NAME: Ivan Pace PHONE NUMBER: 3491961569

Stazione Botanica Bicknell at Pian del Lupo,

La Stazione botanica "C. Bicknell" si trova in Pian del Lupo, nei pressi del Rifugio Garelli, in Alta Valle Pesio, ad una quota compresa tra 1970 e 2000 m e occupa una superficie di circa 1 ettaro. Custodisce habitat rari e minacciati e vi sono collezionate esclusivamente le specie vegetali di alta quota più significative delle Alpi Liguri e Marittime: in poche parole un concentrato di piante alpine e rare a portata di mano, o meglio di "clik" che attendono solo di essere immortalate nel loro massimo splendore. Essa ospita diverse specie rarissime o endemiche dalla fioritura spettacolare ed unica. Tra le specie presenti si possono ricordare gli endemici Senecio persoonii, Silene cordifolia, Saxifraga florulenta, Fritillaria tubaeformis subsp. moggridgei e Veronica allioni. Nella zona umida di torbiera sono inoltre presenti le specie insettivore Drosera rotundifolia e Pinguicula vulgaris. Un visita guidata aperta a tutti: il botanico, Ivan Pace, attenderà i visitatori all'ngresso della stazione botanica sabato 4 e 18 luglio e 1 agosto, e l'inizio del tour botanico, della durata di un'ora, partirà alle 10, alle 11,30 e alle 14. Chi vorrà usufruire di questo servizio dovrà raggiungere a piedi ed in autonomia il Pian del Lupo, dopo una camminata di circa tre ore su un sentiero montano e ben segnalato. Un'escursione che rappresenta una classica meta per l'escursionista che frequenta la nostra Valle ma che in questa occasione si arricchisce di una visita davvero speciale che renderà palese il grande lavoro di ricerca e conservazione del settore Biodiversità Vegetale, guidato con dedizione da Bruno Gallino, storico conservatore dell'Ente. Un vero e proprio scrigno di biodiversità che il nostro ente accudisce e conserva al pari di un prezioso gioiello dal valore inestimabile.
L'iniziativa rientra tra le iniziative di animazione e sensibilizzazione nei giardini botanici alpini inseriti in Jardinalp, progetto europeo finanziato nell'ambito del Programma Alcotra 2014-2020, che coinvolge altri 6 partner gestori di altri giardini botanici delle Alpi occidentali: il Giardino botanico alpino del Lautaret al Col del Lautaret (FR), il giardino del Conservatoire Botanique National Alpin di Gap (FR), il Giardino Botanico Alpino Paradisia a Valnontey (Cogne- AO), il Giardino Alpino Castel Savoia (Gressoney Saint Jean-AO), il Giardino Botanico Alpino Chanousia (Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo -AO), il Giardino Botanico Saussurea a Courmayeur - AO).

giacca impermeabile/anti-vento, pantaloni lunghi da montagna, scarponcini da trekking (la regola del vestirsi a cipolla, cioè a strati sovrapposti, rimane valida).
Informazioni e prenotazioni: Tel. 0171 976850 - 0171 978616 Tiu ĉi retpoŝtadreso estas protektata kontraŭ spamrobotoj. Vi devas ebligi Ĝavaskripton por vidi ĝin.


Erika Chiecchio
Ente di gestione Aree Protette delle Alpi Marittime
Servizio fruizione turistica e comunicazione
Sede operativa di Chiusa di Pesio
Via S.Anna 34
12013 Chiusa di Pesio
Tiu ĉi retpoŝtadreso estas protektata kontraŭ spamrobotoj. Vi devas ebligi Ĝavaskripton por vidi ĝin.
tel: +39 0171 976873 - 334 312 7266
Nome Skype:
Erika Chiecchio


Claude Monet, Clarence Bicknell

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

claude monet ritorno in rivieraUn altro nuovo articolo di Gisella Merello, "L’Atmosfera Cosmopolita di Bordighera a fine Ottocento" che potresti aver visto in un altro contesto. Capitolo già apparso nel catalogo Claude Monet Ritorno in Riviera. Bordighera, Dolceacqua (Silvana editoriale) pubblicato in occasione dell'esposizione avvenuta a Bordighera a Villa Regina Margherita e a Dolceacqua al Castello Doria dal 30 aprile al 31 luglio 2019. Catalogo curato da Aldo Herlaut.

Siamo lieti di poter pubblicare questo articolo sul nostro sito web per l’interesse sulla storia di Bordighera.

Download here


english church bordighera 1881 merello

Another new article by Gisella Merello of Bordighera, "The Cosmopolitan Atmosphere of Bordighera in the late Nineteenth century" that you may have seen in another context. It was a chapter which already appeared in the catalogue of the exhibition "Claude Monet - Return to the Riviera" in Bordighera at Villa Regina Margherita and in Dolceacqua at Castello Doria from April 30 to July 31, 2019. 

We are delighted to be able to publish this article, in Italian, on our website for your interest in the history of Bordighera.

Luigi Pollini (1st April 1873, Stresa – 1927, Bordighera)

Skribita de Marcus Bicknell on .

Research into further details of the life and family of Luigi Pollini, the faithful colleague of Clarence Bicknell and botanist in his own right.

This new wave of research into Pollini was triggered by a request from the Zürich Herbarium, Bernhard Weber, in June 2020. “Luigi Pollini often collected plants together with Clarence Bicknell and I found the name Pollini several times in the very interesting and detailed biography that was made for the centenary of the opening of the Clarence Bicknell Museum in Bordighera. For the biography of Pollini the birthday, the place where he was born, the date when he died, and the place where he died are missing. I am writing the short biographies of the plant collectors that gave plants to the Zurich Herbaria. From Clarence Bicknell we have the following notes:”

I put a request for information out to experts in Bordighera and Genoa. The first to respond was Elisabetta Massardo, currently translating into Italian the biography of Clarence Bicknell, MARVELS, by Valerie Lester. Elisabetta remembered seeing a dedication by Clarence Bicknell in A Guide to the Prehistoric Rock Engravings of the Italian Maritime Alps (Edition of 1913) which he had given to Luigi Pollini for his birthday (April 1st). She had also taken a photograph in 2019 (at the Clarence Bicknell Centenary exhibition at the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera) of Luigi Pollini's passport which confirmed his birth date as 1st April 1873 in Stresa (Piemonte)

At Elisabetta’s suggestion, I wrote to the Comune di Stresa to ask for any other dates on record including marriage and death. They confirmed he married Mercede Varesi on 23 October 1902 in Chignolo Verbano (MARVELS page 126) They do not have the date of death as it had not been transcribed in the deed.

Giuseppe Bessone wrote on 24th June 2020 to say Pollini died 1927 in Bordighera (source: .archives, Comune di Bordighera) but he is not buried in Bordighera Cemetery.

Details and photo evidence are for researchers to find at

We are pleased that the Zurich request for info triggered some satisfying research into shuch a close friend and colleague of Clarence Bicknell.


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