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.