Happy Christmas from Clarence - a Christmas rose

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

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

Scritto da 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

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

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 https://www.clarencebicknell.com/en/downloads

BikeBick - La Ciclovia Bicknell from Bordighera to Limone

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

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

Scritto da 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!


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

Scritto da 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 https://www.barpublishing.com/shepherds-who-write.html

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"... https://www.clarencebicknell.com/en/news-views/204-research-the-archaeology-of-jules-masson-mourey

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. https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-00915928/file/these_bianchi_2013_vol_1.pdf

Election of Companions of the Clarence Bicknell Association

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

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 (http://www.julianbicknell.co.uk), writer, worked with the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture between 1990 and 2000, previous Master of the Artworkers’ Guild (www.artworkersguild.org)
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/download 
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads 
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads 
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads
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. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads
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.. www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads 
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

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

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 Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.
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 Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.


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
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tel: +39 0171 976873 - 334 312 7266
Nome Skype:
Erika Chiecchio


Claude Monet, Clarence Bicknell

Scritto da 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 clarencebicknell.com 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 clarencebicknell.com for your interest in the history of Bordighera.

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

Scritto da 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 www.clarencebicknell.com/images/downloads_news/luigi_pollini_birth_date_june2020.pdf

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


Edward Berry - nuovo articolo di Gisella Merello

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

edward berry colourCon questo nuovo articolo su Edward Berry, Gisella Merello rende un quadro complessivo della vita e delle molteplici attività imprenditoriali a Bordighera del nipote preferito di Clarence Bicknell. Scarica qui l'articolo di Gisella Merello...


Il testo mette in luce la probabile ragione per la quale Berry aprì a Bordighera una filiale dell'agenzia di viaggio Thomas Cook & Son e, grazie al ritrovamento di lettere inedite, delinea il rapporto tra Berry e la regina madre Margherita di Savoia. Inoltre, tramite lo studio di fotografie d’epoca qui pubblicate per la prima volta, si sono potuti scoprire dei particolari sull’abitazione di Berry, villa Monte Verde, come affreschi preraffaelliti e antichi arredi, legati persino alla storia locale dei Doria di Dolceacqua.

Emergono dettagli sulla vita sociale di Berry, come la sua decennale presidenza al Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club o l'aver contribuito con suoi testi alla promozione di Bordighera in qualità di presidente della Società del Bene Pubblico. Altro aspetto che viene valorizzato è l’efficace collaborazione di Berry con eminenti personaggi soggiornanti a Bordighera al fine di raccogliere fondi di solidarietà destinati a emergenze nazionali, ai poveri della zona e alle necessità culturali della locale comunità britannica.


banca berry british storeWith this new article on Edward Berry, Bordighera historian and writer Gisella Merello gives an overall picture of the life and activities in Bordighera of Clarence Bicknell's favorite nephew. The article can be downloaded in Italian here:


photo, left: the Berry Bank opposite the British Stores

The paper shows how and why Berry opened a branch of the travel agency Thomas Cook & Son in Bordighera and other businesses and, thanks to the discovery of unpublished letters, outlines the relationship between Berry and Queen Mother Margherita of Savoy. Furthermore, through the study of period photographs published here for the first time, it was possible to discover details about Berry's home, Villa Monte Verde, such as pre-Raphaelite frescoes and ancient furnishings which are linked to the local history of the Doria family of Dolceacqua.

Details emerge of Berry's social life, such as his ten-year presidency at the Bordighera Lawn Tennis Club and having contributed with his texts to the promotion of Bordighera as president of the charitable Società del Bene Pubblico. The paper also highlights Edward Berry's successful collaboration with eminent people in Bordighera in raising funds for national emergencies, for the poor in the area and for the cultural needs of the local British community.

We thank Gisella Merello warmly for her conitnued work on the cultural heritage of Bordighera and Clarence Bicknell.

Marcus Bicknell, June 2020

Graham Avery elected Fellow of The Linnean Society

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

graham avery linnean societyWe are pleased to announce that Graham Avery, Vice-Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association, has been elected Fellow of The Linnean Society of London.

linnean society logoFounded in 1788, The Linnean Society is the world’s oldest active biological society, taking its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus whose botanical, zoological and library collections are conserved by the Society at its home in Burlington House, London. The Linnean Society plays an important role in botanical research, and among the treasures in its Library are Clarence Bicknell’s publications Flowering plants and ferns of the Riviera (1885) and Flora of Bordighera and San Remo (1896).

Photo, right. Graham Avery has funded the conservation
of the Society’s copy of the Flora of Bordighera and San Remo,
and here is a photo of him with the repaired volume in his hands

Since the Clarence Bicknell Association was founded, Graham Avery has been active in research into Clarence’s botanical activities. He contributed the page on Clarence Bicknell the botanist to our website and more than twenty papers to our research documents section. Clarence’s correspondence with Emile Burnat, which Graham discovered in Geneva, was a key source for Valerie Lester’s MARVELS: the Life of Clarence Bicknell published in 2018.

Please read the full text with further information and web links by downloading the document in MS Word here.

Clarence Bicknell: the rock he sent to the British Museum

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

301 British Museum AN00790984 001 lIn 1897 Clarence Bicknell sent by mail to the British Museum in London an entire detached rock with a horned figured on it. Read Valerie Lester's account in MARVEL on page 121. I mention it now because the British Museum has digitised much of its archive. Their report to the UK Government each year list new acquisitions. Here is the record of Clarence's contribution:


The foreign illustrations include : —

A slab of rock with picked design representing the head of
an ox, probably of the Bronze age, from the north side of the
val Fontanalba, near Bordighera ; presented by Clarence
Bicknell, Esq.

RETURN to an Order of the Honourable The House of Commons,
dated 24 February 1898 ;— /or,

ACCOUNT "of the Income and Expenditure of tne
British Museum (Special Trust Funds) for the
Year ending the 31st day of March 1898 ; and
Return of the Number of Persons admitted to visit
the Museum and the British Museum (Natural
History) in each Year from 1892 to 1897, both Years
inclusive ; together with a Statement of the Progress^
made in the Arrangement and Description of the
Collections, and an Account of Objects added to
them in the Year 1897."



MARVELS - more excerpts made available online

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

To coincide with the price reduction of MARVELS: The LIfe of Clarence Bicknell by Valerie Lester we have made available online some more excerpts from the book. You can buy the book itself, for £10, at www.clarencebicknell.com/shop.

Here is the list of the material presently available free of charge:

MARVELS - the index of Valerie Lester's 2018 biography 2018 - Valerie Lester
MARVELS - prologue of Valerie Lester's 2018 biography 2018 - Valerie Lester (including titles, contents and family tree)
MARVELS - chapter 1 of Valerie Lester's 2018 biography 2018 - Valerie Lester (Herne Hill)
MARVELS - chapter 10 of Valerie Lester's 2018 biography 2018 - Valerie Lester (The Rock Engravings)
MARVELS - end notes, acknowledgements, bibliography, index 2018 - Valerie Lester

MARVELS price reduction

Scritto da Marcus Bicknell on .

We are delighted to announce a massive price reduction for MARVELS, the extraordinary biography of Clarence Bicknell. Now might be the time to read it yourself or to send copies to friends.


(approx €11.50 or $12.75 - plus postage  - Amazon price £18-£20)  
Purchase your copy or have one sent to a friend at www.clarencebicknell.com/shop - worldwide shipping available. PayPal, cheque, transfer or card

About the Book

A treasure trove of research discoveries enlightens Valerie Lester’s biography of the captivating scientist and artist, Clarence Bicknell. Over 5 years, Lester pored over hundreds of newly-discovered letters, botanical watercolours and arts-and-crafts designs in archives including the Natural History Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the Conservatoire Botanique in Geneva and Genoa University. Every letter and diary entry provides Lester with Clarence’s voice; and each of his vellum-bound albums reveals drawings, watercolours and whimsical creations. The biography’s text, supported by more than 200 images, gives remarkable insights into how and why this man strove for perfection in each subject he tackled. 

Published by Matador in 2018, ISBN 9781 7890 1494 5 hardback. You can buy it direct ex-stock from the book’s producers, the Clarence Bicknell Association for £10 + postage. www.clarencebicknell.com/shop. Our price was £18.95 and it remains at £18 - £20 on Amazon. We will ship to you direct from our bulk stock near London.

Download this information in English in A4 pdf here

Télécharger ces infos en français ici

Scarica queste informazioni in italiano qui

About the Author

Valerie Browne Lester, an independent scholar, writer, and translator was descended from Clarence Bicknell’s maternal grand-parents. She was the author of Fasten Your Seat Belts! History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin (1995; Phiz, The Man Who Drew Dickens (London, 2004), a biography of Hablot Knight Browne, Dickens’s principal illustrator (Clarence Bicknell’s uncle and Valerie’s great-great-grandfather); and Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World (David Godine, Boston, 2015), her biography of the great Italian printer Giambattista Bodoni (1710-1813). She sadly died of cancer at her home in Hingham Massachusetts in 2019.

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