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

Written by 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

Written by 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

Written by 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
tel: +39 0171 976873 - 334 312 7266
Nome Skype:
Erika Chiecchio


Claude Monet, Clarence Bicknell

Written by 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)

Written by 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

Written by 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

Written by 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

Written by 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

Written by 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

Written by 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.

Research - the dogs in Clarence's life

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

The sharing of three dozen black-and-white photos of Casterino from Clarence's photo album on the Facebook page "Tu sais que t'es tendasque quand..." www.facebook.com/groups/42846737105/ led to warm reactions from its readers and a warm interchange with Elisabetta Massardo, engaged in the translation of MARVELS into Italian. Some of the exchange was about the identity of dogs in the various photos. I therefore ran through MARVELS and my other files to put some order in my mind about which dog was which.

My paper was initially entitles "3 dogs in Clarence's Life" but it turned out quickly to be "4 dogs in Clarence's Life"...

  • Mahdi, Clarence's dog
  • Leo, Margaret Berry's dog
  • Capi, Nora Bicknell's poodle, and
  • Robber, Margaret Berry's earlier dog.

Read more at https://www.clarencebicknell.com/images/downloads_news/4_dogs_clarence.pdf

Fritz Mader - new research by Graham Avery

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

mader vip bookWe have the honour to publish today a fascinating new paper by our Association's Vice-Chairman and most active researcher Graham Avery on a subject which had not been studied in the past.

Fritz Mader was a geographer and natural historian who had a significant influence on the course of Clarence Bicknell's life. It was a letter sent to him in 1897 by Mader that triggered the passion for exploration of the rock figures that occupied him for much of the rest of his life. Without Mader, Graham argues, it is likely that Bicknell would not have been a pioneer in the study of the prehistoric rock engravings in the Maritime Alps.

Our image, right, shows the page which
Clarence dedicated to Mader in his
Book of Guests at the Casa Fontanalba,
all in in Esperanto


Here is how Clarence describes the tip-off from Mader which changed the course of his career...

‘In 1897 I heard that a house in Val Casterino, belonging to Signor Pellegrino of Tenda, was to be let, and I took it for the summer, partly with the intention of botanizing, but partly with that of seeing more of the rock figures of the Meraviglie, which had from the first greatly fascinated me. About the end of June I wrote to the Secretary of the Italian Alpine Club to ask if he could give me any information about the works already published on the Meraviglie, and he referred me to Dr. Fritz Mader, an Associate who had a thorough knowledge of the Maritime Alps, and who spent his summers in Tenda. It was then, through the full and courteous reply to a letter that I wrote to Dr. Mader, that we first heard of there being inscriptions in the valley near us, and we immediately went up to search for ourselves. I had, only a few weeks previously, been up the Val Fontanalba for the first time with a nephew. We passed over a number of smooth yellow rocks, and I remember observing that they were exactly like those at the Meraviglie, but intent on looking for plants, I noticed no figures, though I now know that I must have passed close to many’.

(page 40 of Clarence's A guide to the prehistoric rock engravings in the Italian Maritime Alps, Bordighera, 1913.)

Who was Fritz Mader? Read Graham's paper in full at



Images below:
Left: Another page from Clarence's diary in which he refers to a 6.20 start with Mader and one other for an expedition up the Val Fontanalba
Right: A post card of the Cima Bicknell, 2,686m., which Fritz Mader named after Clarence Bicknell

mader diary entrycima bicknell card

Clarence Bicknell in the Catalogue of Ligurian Libraries

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

Publications referring to Clarence Bicknell in the Catalogue of Ligurian Libraries


and search for "Bicknell"

Bicknell, Peter
Clarence Bicknell, his family and his friends / Peter Bicknell
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Bicknell, Marcus
Clarence Bicknell, l'homme. Londres 1842-Casterino 1918 / Marcus Bicknell
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Museo Bicknell di Bordighera
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Museo Bicknell di Bordighera
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Museo Bicknell di Bordighera
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Un incendio al Museo Bicknell
Fa parte di: Rivista Ingauna e Intemelia : bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per la Liguria. Sezione Ingauna e Intemelia

Bicknell, Clarence
The common fig tree / C. Bicknell
Bordighera : Giuseppe Bessone, 1912

Bicknell, Clarence
Parnassia palustris / Clarence Bicknell
Milano: Gianfranco Giorgi, [s. d]
Fa parte di: La Revuo : internacia monata literatura gazeto

Bicknell, Clarence
La Piemonta valo Pesio / Clarence Bicknell
Paris: Esperantaj Prozajoj, 1902
Fa parte di: Esperantaj Prozajoj

Bicknell, Clarence
Una gita primaverile in Sardegna / per Clarence Bicknell
[Italia : s.n., dopo il 1904]

 I did not know about the fire in the Museo Bicknell. When was that? And does any reader have a copy of this paper. I will see if I can get it.

With thanks to Graham Avery for alerting me to this source of information.


Clarence Bicknell: Mountain landscapes and botany

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918) dans les Alpes Maritimes : Entre Paysage et Botanique

By Raffaella Bruzzone, Robert Hearn, Pietro Piana

Download the paper here

This paper establishes the importance of the figure, and the scientific and artistic production, of Clarence Bicknell, the British amateur botanist and archaeologist who lived between the Ligurian Riviera and the Maritime Alps for most of his life . Thanks to his works concerning botany and landscape (held in Italy and the UK) we can investigate the historical geography and the landscape history of the area.

Keywords: Clarence Bicknell, geohistory, Riviera, Maritime alps, botany, historical geography, topographical art

This paper. which is in French, was completed between 2017 and 2019 and is published in French. It was presented in an early form at the 12th October 2016 conference in Toulouse on Environmental Geo-history and Landscapes, a report of which, Géohistoire de l'Environnement et des Paysages by Philippe Valette and Jean-Michel Carozza is available at https://www.cnrseditions.fr/catalogue/geographie-territoires/geohistoire-de-l-environnement-et-des-paysages/
(Les préoccupations environnementales et paysagères se positionnent au cœur des questions sociétales actuelles. Focalisés sur les futurs possibles et la prospective, de nombreux travaux scientifiques sous-estiment l’enracinement de ces problématiques dans le temps long des dynamiques sociales et naturelles.)

Dr Raffaella Bruzzone is Research Associate in the School of Geography, University of Nottingham, UK. She has been Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nottingham University, now writing a thesis on the methodology of research in Liguria and the Merveilles, from the angle of an Earth Scientist. She graduated from Genoa University, Italy and wrote her PhD on Ligurian botanical history, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Her full CV is at http://mpa.academia.edu/RaffaellaBruzzone/CurriculumVitae

Dr Robert Hearn is a researcher and university lecturer specialising in Environmental History. Upon completion of his PhD, h held a two-year position as the Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at the Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy. Since August 2016, he has been an Assistant Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of Nottingham, UK. Robert Hearn’s CV is at https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/geography/people/robert.hearn

Dr Pietro Piana is Research Assistant at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham. He is currently working on a Leverhulme Project on British Amateur Topographical Art and Landscape in NW Italy, 1835-1915. He is co-author of Travelling in Italy during Turner’s Lifetime https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/ross-balzaretti-pietro-piana-and-charles-watkins-travelling-in-italy-during-turners-r1176438. Pietro Piana’s CV is at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pietro_Piana

Clarence Bicknell "entre paysage et botanique"

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

Madonna del lAnnunziata San Biagio Cuneo 1905"Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918) dans les Alpes Maritimes: entre paysage et botanique".

Nous sommes fiers de pouvoir publier dans les pages de notre site web un papier au sujet de la contribution de Clarence Bicknell pour la géographie historique et l’histoire du paysage des Alpes Maritimes. Le papier est écrit par trois amis de la famille Bicknell qui on rendu visite à notre domicile prés de Londres afin d'étudier (et de photographier quelques images inédits pour ce papier) Raffaella Bruzzone (Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow, School of Geography and Department of History, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.), Robert Hearn et Pietro Piana (tous les deux; School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)


"Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918) dans les Alpes Maritimes: entre paysage et botanique". Cet article porte sur la figure et la production scientifique et artistique de Clarence Bicknell, un botaniste et archéologue amateur britannique, qui vécut entre la Riviera de la Ligurie et les Alpes-Maritimes pendant la plus grande partie de sa vie. Ses travaux concernant la botanique et le paysage (conservés en Italie et au Royaume-Uni) sont une contribution majeure pour la géographie historique et l’histoire du paysage de la région.

Vous pouvez télécharger le papier à l'adresse suivante... www.clarencebicknell.com/images/downloads_news/clarence_bicknell_bruzzone_hearn_piana_2019.pdf

L'image: Madonna del l'Annunziata San Biagio Cuneo, aquarelle de Clarence Bicknell, 1905. Bicknell Family Collection.

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