Clarence’s collection of Pliocene fossils

Luca Barale writes “I have also find out that Clarence sent a collection of Pliocene fossils collected in the Bordighera neighbourhood to Federico Sacco, geologist and palaeontologist based in Torino, who studied them and published them in the huge, 30-volumes work “I Molluschi dei Terreni Terziarii del Piemonte e della Liguria”. Sacco also dedicated a clam species to Clarence: Aequipecten bicknelli; were you aware of this? I could not find this information anywhere. The Sacco collection is still kept here in Torino; it would be nice to have a look at the Bicknell’s specimens one day or another!”

“I attach the excerpts of the original description of Aequipecten bicknelli and of the table where the specimens of this fossil species (n 14-19) are reproduced (the complete reference is “Sacco F. (1897) I Molluschi dei Terreni Terziarii del Piemonte e della Liguria. Parte XXIV (Pectinidae). Clausen, Torino”). In the fossil description, Sacco writes quite a nice tribute to Clarence and his work! …

I am glad to dedicate this elegant as well as interesting species to Clarence Bicknell, who donated a rich collection of Pliocene fossils from Liguria to the Geological Museum of Torino, and who always shares liberally with me all the material of the valuable collection put together by him and kept in the nice Museum he built in Bordighera, an example for us Italians of what could and should be done in all the small towns of our beloved peninsula”.

A note from Marcus… There is no signature in the Casa Fontanalba Visitors’ Book for Prof Federico Sacco, so he cannot have stayed a night there. Surprising, as they knew each other well and Clarence is certain to have wanted to show Sacco the engravings of the Merveilles and the site of his fossil and other finds. Clarence thanks Sacco on pp 20/37 of “A Guide to the Prehistoric Rock Engravings in the Italian Maritime Alps” and he is given a page by Clarence in his Book of Guests in Esperanto p.58 (image right).

Thank you Luca! That’s news to us at and the Bicknell family. A nice find. With thanks from Marcus and the team here.

Luca Barale, Researcher, National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, Via Valperga Caluso 35, 10125 Torino – Italy.