I have just finished transcribing Margaret Berry's diary of her first trip to Clarence's Casa Fontanalba. In fact she and Edward her husband were the first visitors. It is very useful to researchers because it gives detail of not only her daily life but also of Clarence Bicknell and his helper in the mountains, Luigi Pollini. The photo on the right, taken in about 1914 on the terrace of the Casa Fontanalba, shows Clarence left, Edward Berry standing, and Margaret Berry to his right with a cane in her hand. Download the 11 page diary transcript here.
Friday 16th May 2014 18h00: Seminar, Valerie Lester, Musée des Merveilles, Tende, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Saturday 17th May 2014 16h00: Seminar, Valerie Lester,Museo Bicknell, Bordighera, Liguria, Italy, and at 17h30 the first meeting of the Clarence Bicknell Association *2
We are delighted to inform all admirers of Clarence Bicknell of two important dates to which you are invited. Both will feature a seminar with a presentation on “Clarence Bicknell and his cousin Phiz, illustrator of Charles Dickens, the Bicknells and the Brownes” by Valerie Browne Lester *1, Phiz's great-granddaughter. There will also be news on the Europe-wide project to commemorate the 2018 centenary of Clarence Bicknell's death, including a new book and an travelling exhibition round Europe. The second date, in Bordighera, will also feature the the inaugural meeting of the Clarence Bicknell Association.
Siamo lieti di informare tutti i membri dell'Associazione Clarence Bicknell circa due importanti date aperte a voi. Entrambe prevedono un seminario con una presentazione su "Clarence Bicknell e suo cugino Phiz, illustratore di Charles Dickens, I Bicknell e I Browne" di Valerie Browne Lester, pronipote di Phiz. Valerie e Marcus Bicknell sono collegati attraverso la madre di Clarence, Lucinda, la zia di Phiz e la quarta moglie di Elhanan Bicknell. Ci saranno anche I primi annunci pubblici del progetto a livello europeo per commemorare nel 2018 il centenario della morte di Clarence Bicknell , tra cui un nuovo libro e una mostra itinerante in Europa.
Nous sommes ravis d'informer tous les membres de l'Association Clarence Bicknell de deux dates importantes. Tous les deux présentent d'un séminaire sur "Clarence Bicknell et son cousin Phiz, illustrateur de Charles Dickens, le Bicknell et la Brownes" par Valerie Browne Lester * 1, arrière petite-fille de Phiz. Valérie et Marcus Bicknell sont liés par la mère de Clarence Lucinda, la tante de Phiz et quatrième épouse d'Elhanan Bicknell. Il y aura aussi les premieres annonces en public du projet européen pour commémorer en 2018 le centenaire de la mort de Clarence Bicknell, y compris un nouveau livre et une exposition itinérante autour de l'Europe.
*1: Valerie Browne Lester (researcher, scholar, author and translator living near Boston http://www.valerielester.com) is descended from Clarence Bicknell’s maternal grandfather and from Clarence’s cousin, Hablot Knight Browne , known as "Phiz". Phiz , artist and designer , is known for his many illustrations to the books by Charles Dickens. Valerie Browne Lester wrote the book "Phiz : The Man Who Drew Dickens " published by Random House in 2006 in which Valerie revealed hitherto unknown aspects of the origins of Phiz . She wrote the stratospheric best seller "Fasten Your Seat Belts! History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin"in 1995 about the cabin crew of the PanAm airline. Her new biography of Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813) Italian typographer, composer , printer and publisher will be published in 2014. Valerie will present mostly in Englihs but her Italian and French are good enough for you to expect a polyglot evening. Valerie and Marcus Bicknell are related through Clarence's mother Lucinda, Phiz's aunt and Elhanan Bicknell's fourth wife.
*2: In Bordighera, in the Museum which Clarence created, we shall hold the founding general meeting of the Clarence Bicknell Association. This will take the form of election of officers (for which I shall post here and email details and nomination process) and objectives of the association presented by Marcus Bicknell and colleagues.
* 1 : Valerie Browne Lester ( chercheur, scientifique , auteur et traducteur vivant près de Boston http://www.valerielester.com ) est descendu du grand-père maternel de Clarence Bicknell et de la cousine de Clarence , chevalier de Hablot Browne , connu sous le nom " Phiz " . Phiz , artiste et designer , est connu pour ses nombreuses illustrations pour les livres de Charles Dickens . Valerie Browne Lester a écrit le livre " Phiz : The Man Who Drew Dickens " publié par Random House en 2006 qui a révélé Valerie aspects jusqu'ici inconnus sur les origines de Phiz . Elle a écrit le best-seller stratosphérique " Attachez vos ceintures ! Histoire et d'héroïsme dans la cabine Pan Am " en 1995 sur le personnel de cabine de la compagnie aérienne PanAm . Sa nouvelle biographie de Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813) typographe italien , compositeur , imprimeur et éditeur sera publié en 2014 . Valerie présentera principalement en anglais , mais son italien et son français sont assez copieux pour que vous puissiez prévoir une soirée polyglotte .
* 2 : En Bordighera , dans le musée qui Clarence créé , nous allons tenir l'assemblée générale de fondation de l' Association Clarence Bicknell . Cela prendra la forme d' élection des dirigeants ( dont je serai poster ici et les détails de l' email et le processus de nomination ) et les objectifs de l'association présentée par Marcus Bicknell et collègues.
* 1 : Valerie Browne Lester (ricercatore, studioso, autore e traduttore, vive nei pressi di Boston - http://www.valerielester.com ) discende dal nonno materno di Clarence Bicknell e da suo cugino Hablot Knight Browne, noto come Phiz. Questo artista e designer e famoso per le sue numerose illustrazioni sui libri di Charles Dickens. Valerie Browne Lester ha scritto il libro "Phiz: L'Uomo Che Disegnó Dickens", pubblicato da Random House nel 2006, in cui Valerie rivela aspetti finora sconosciuti sulle origini di Phiz. Ha scritto il grande best seller “Allacciate le cinture di sicurezza! Storia ed eroismo nel Pan Am Cabin” nel 1995 dell'equipaggio di cabina della suddetta Compagnia. La sua nuova biografia di Gianbattista Bodoni (1740-1813), tipografo italiano, compositore , stampatore e editore, sarà pubblicata nel 2014. Valerie parlerà soprattutto in inglese ma il suo italiano ed il suo francese sono abbastanza fluenti da pronosticare una serata poliglotta.
* 2 : A Bordighera , nel museo che Clarence Bicknell ha creato, si terrá l'assemblea generale di fondazione del Associazione Clarence Bicknell. Ciò prenderà la forma di elezione dei dirigenti (motivo per il quale io spediro'e mandero 'tramite e mail i dettagli e i procedimenti delle varie nomine ) e gli obbiettivi dell'Associazione presentati da Marcus Bicknell e dai suoi colleghi.
This article by Johanna Merz appeared in the Alpine Journal of 16 Jul 2010. We have not referred to it previously in Clarence Bicknell web pages so I thought it would be interesting for members to see the article in full. You can download the pdf here. What's the link with the Alpine Club other than the Merveilles being in the Alps? I quote from this article... "Back in London I discovered that Clarence Bicknell came from a family of mountain lovers. His brother, Raymond, a keen mountaineer, was Vice-President ofthe Alpine Club from 1926 until his death in a climbing accident the following year. Some of us will remember Raymond Bicknell's son Peter, whose application for AC membership was backed by famous names like Claude Elliott and E L Strutt. Peter and his brother Claud were taken on holiday to Grindelwald by their father in 1924 and both became prominent mountaineers. Peter wrote several articles for the Alpine Journal, such as 'Wordsworth and the Alps' with Janet Adam Smith in the 1992 volume." All true except a minor detail. My grand-father Raymond was Clarence's nephew; Raymond (1875-1927) was one of many children of Percy Bicknell (1836-1911), Clarence's brother.
We are not aware of extensive collections of Clarence Bicknell's outgoing letters, so the emails from Giuseppe Sitzia in Grignasco in the Italian Alps have been most welcome. He has unearthed in the Calderini Museum of Varallo seven letters from Clarence Bicknell to the Abbot and botanist Antonio Carestia 1825-1908 in Riva Valdobbia in Valsesia. The letters are mostly about the exchange of botanical samples; both men were very excited about the rare species which could be found in the Alps.
Clarence wrote these letters in Italian; his winter home in Bordighera and his summer house in Val Casterino were both in Italy at the time, so his Italian was probably quite good. His hand-writing is a bit scrawly, so the transcripts are missing a word here and there. But they do shed some light on the habit at the time of collecting samples in the wild (frowned on today) and his friendship with another ardent collector.
Great article featuring Clarence Bicknell in France magazine this month. If you are interested in France or in Clarence then you could buy a single copy at http://www.buyamag.co.uk/France-Magazines/France-Magazine. The article is called Walking in the Mercantour and is on page 22. The writer Ray Kershaw was in touch with us when writing it and I think he's done a nice job. "In blistering heat and violent storms, Bicknell combed the valley with his assistant".
"Après moi le deluge". Should we be expecting thousands of botany, archaeology and art fans to be poring over the new Clarence Bicknell web site? It was launched today, 14th July 2013.
This website was conceived in spring 2013 by Marcus Bicknell, Clarence’s great-great-nephew and finished with the help of family and friends plus web authors Rémy and Zelda of Lez'Art Creation in Breil, just a few miles from the Vallée des Merveilles. Special thanks to Susie my wife and Graham Avery for their writing and proof-reading skills, and Alice my daughter for the Clarence Bicknell Association logo. Italian translations are under way by Angela de Toma who works at the Musée des Merveille and Francoise Villain for the French. Esperanto translations are in place and Spanish ones on the cards for later. Just click on the flags in the top left to see the laguage versions.
Our photo (right) shows Lez'Art boss Rémy Masséglia who did the brilliant background images and other creative aspects, Zelda Zein who provided the structure and technical aspects of the web software Joomla, and Marcus Bicknell on the right.
The site gives some insight into Clarence the man, his life and works and responds to an increasing demand from Clarence-lovers in many countries. You’ll find some images out of the family collection that have not been published anywhere before. It also gives information about the Clarence Bicknell Association and how you can join (click on >Association, >Membership above). We would be delighted to get your feedback including webmaster issues via email: or via the Forum on this site for which you will need to be a member.
Just back from the conference about my great grand unce Edward Elhanan Berry (1861-1931) and his wife Margaret in the Museo Clarence Bicknell, presided by Professor Dott. Daniela Gandolfi. I presented some original research on the Berrys drawn from family papers which I have, including the fact that the Berrys had a daughter - adopted - and that Edward had a little sister Clara of which we, before a recent UCL Bloomsbury project research, knew nothing. I was also honoured to be able to present this oil painting of Edward Berry by Herbert Arnould Olivier (1861 – 1952), apparently one of three in existence.
You can download and read my complete paper in English here. French and Italian available on request.