Graham Avery (Vice Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association and author of excellent papers on our web site) will give a lecture on 'Clarence Bicknell - A British Botanist in the Maritime Alps' at the Annual Meeting of the European Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Group which takes place at Champex in Switzerland from 19 to 21 June 2019.
Graham discovered that the Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève has in its archives of scientific correspondence a collection of letters written by Clarence Bicknell (1842-1918) to the Swiss botanist Emile Burnat (1828-1920). This archive of about 690 documents (including postcards) from the period 1886-1917 gives much information on Clarence Bicknell’s life, his botanical activity, and his research into the prehistoric rock art of the Maritime Alps. Graham anlysed and transcribed these letters and they provided valuable insight into Clarence for Valerie Lester when writing MARVELS. These letters provide more in the biography of Clarence's "voice" than any other source.
Graham's work with the Conservatoire and its Principal Librarian Pierre Boillat, and his skills in botany and history, have led to this invitation to speak at such an important conference. The event is closed to the public but enquiries can be made of the organisers.
Read a short report of the opening ceremony
Read the speech given in Italian by Marcus Bicknell (Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association) at the opening ("L'apertura di questo giardino testimonia il desiderio dell'uomo di rispettare e proteggere il nostro patrimonio culturale immateriale").
We are delighted to publish two papers by the archaeologist Jules Masson Mourey and we thank him for his permission to do so.
The first, from December 2017 is on the curious phenomenon of rock engravings of humans with their feet turned inwards, pieds bots in French, and their occurrence in real life. Download the pdf here.
The second is brand new, 2019, from the International Newsletter On Rock Art ( INORA, 2019, N° 83), on Key Hole figures and ZigZag Arm anthropomorphs (Les figures "en trou de serrure" et de l'"Anthropomorphe aux bras en zigzag") in the Vallée des Merveilles. Download the pdf here.
Jules Masson Mourey
Doctorant contractuel, Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, Minist Culture, LAMPEA, Aix-en-Provence, France
Gisella Merello kindly sent me snippets of the mention of Elhanan Bikcknell, Clarence's father, in the biography of Milais by his son. Interesting to read so clearly that Turner "disliked society, and was intimate with very few people, his principal friends being Mr. Bicknell of Denmark Hill, and Munro of Novar, though at times he frequented the Athenaeum Club".
The story about the Count d'Orsay (referred to in just a few words in the book) is a good one. I covered it some time ago because I have an original print of the picture in question. Read
MAN OF MARVELS – CLARENCE BICKNELL was the title of the talk by Renchi Bicknell given to The Glastonbury Positive Living Group on November 15th 2018. But the material on Dr John Goodchild of Glastonbury and general practitioner in Bordighera, the BlueBowl, which many claimed is the Holy Grail, and the relationsip with Clarence Bicknell makes fascinating reading.
Renchi Bicknell is the great grand nephew of Clarence Bicknell. He is the son of Peter Bicknell, Cambridge architect and lecturer, who looked after the Bicknell collection of Clarence Bicknell books and drawings until his death in 1995, and who wrote in 1988 a mini-biography Clarence published on the www.clarencebicknell.com web site. Renchi is an artist and writer living in Glastonbury with his wife Vanessa. His approach to life and his spirituality put Renchi in an ideal position to assimilate Clarence Bicknell’s character and soul. His portrayal of Clarence in the 2016 film documentary The Marvels of Clarence Bicknell by French director Remy Masseglia was therefore more than convincing; his resemblance to Clarence is also uncanny (movie poster, right).
With this in mind, this account of Clarence and Dr Goodchild of Bordighera and Glastonbury takes on a powerful significance. Is this what Clarence would have believed about the Blue Bowl? It is certainly a more emotively told story than laying out academic research.
At the evening in Glastonbury, Renchi addressed a crowd of the faithful, mostly those who live with, and communicate, the beliefs concerning Glastonbury, Joseph, the Holy Grail, the Blue Bowl, the Chalice Well and the Tor. The audience found themselves involved with the subject not just with the projection of the film and Renchi’s text, but also with silences, exploration of the mind, an imaginary walk up the Val Fontanalba and hands-on experience of rubbing the rock engraving reliefs reproduced in wood for the occasion. Of the forty events during Clarence Bicknell’s 2018 Centenary this was the most characterful.
In the footsteps of Clarence Bicknell
At the Peradeniya Gardens in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Monday 14th January 2019
Dr Shelomi A. Krishnarajah, (Director General, Sri Lanka Department of National Botanic Gardens) and senior colleagues welcomed Marcus and Susie Bicknell at the National Herbarium today. 20 executives and scientists of the Peradeniya Gardens watched the film “The Marvels of Clarence Bicknell “ and heard a talk on Clarence Bicknell’s botany and art.
The discussion then covered his visit here in January 1908, the publication of historic botanical watercolours, the international networks of herbarium exchanges and the worldwide reputation of the Peradeniya Gardens (whose 200th anniversary will be celebrated in 2022) then and now.
The Bicknell family presented to the Peradeniya Gardens copies of the new biography of Clarence Bicknell “Marvels” and of his illustrated “Casa Fontanalba Visitors’ Book”. Dr Krishnarajah presented the Bicknells with copies of their new collection of botanical illustrations by three generations of the De Alwis Seneviratne family.
Photo left to right:
Mr. M. M. D. J. Senaratna (Deputy Director (Floriculture Research);
Dr. Subhani Ranasingh (Deputy Director, National Herbarium);
Ms. Chandrika Jayaweera (Director Development, Department of National Botanic Gardens);
Susie Bicknell (researcher at the Clarence Bicknell Association);
Dr Shelomi A. Krishnarajah, (Director General, Sri Lanka Department of National Botanic Gardens);
Dr Achala Attanayake (Deputy Director Royal Botanic Gardens Sri Lanka and Curator of the Peradeniya Gardens);
Marcus Bicknell (Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association and Clarence’s great grand nephew).
Note: The British botanist Clarence Bicknell visited the Royal Botanic Garden at Peradeniya in 1908 at the invitation of J.C. Willis the Director. This visit, and Bicknell's voyage round Sri Lanka, features in MARVELS, the new biography of Clarence Bicknell by Valerie Lester. The excerpt from the book is at https://www.clarencebicknell.com/en/news-views/163-in-clarence-s-time-his-trip-to-ceylon-in-1908 and in pdf at https://www.clarencebicknell.com/images/downloads_news/clarence_bicknell_in_ceylon_1908_lester.pdf.
The photo of the gardens with yellow borders is the approximate location of the black and white photo of the Peradeniya Gardens in Clarence's time.
The conference at the Hanbury Gardens on 26 January 2019 was the last of the 40 events in eight countries marking the Clarence Bicknell 2018 Centenary, but by some measures one of the best. I had been keen for several years, since hosting the friends of the Hanbury Gardens in London in 2016 and hearing their presentations at the Italian Institute, to be able to have a Bicknell-Hanbury event at the famous Hanbury Gardens. At the initiative of Alessandro Bartoli, dynamic secretary of their association, we accepted a date of 26 January 2019... Carolyn Hanbury assisted him in selecting the classiest speakers and in disciplining them to submit papers in advance and sticking to ten minutes each (oh well, 20 minutes). Success.
Carolyn Hanbury started off by welcoming the 80 attendees and talked about what is know of Hanbury and Bicknell's contacts.
A rare and very valuable contribution by Professor Mauro Mariotti, head of the Distav and the University of Genova (therefore the de facto curator of a collection of some thirteen thousand Clarence Bicknell watercolours, rock engraving copies, field diaries and plant samples) attributes to Clarence Bicknell the moniker Field Scientist. Today’s experts appreciate the work of enlightened amateurs almost as much as salaried professionals; work done by the citizen scientists, just for the love of the subject, can be very useful. I think Clarence would have liked the idea of being a citizen scientist; with his network of like-minded collectors and researchers, his love of people and his work on the universal language Esperanto, he was certainly a citizen. He may have blanched at the idea of being called a scientist; he read mathematics at Cambridge and was grounded in the church so he continually stressed that he was there to record the facts in the field, archaeological and botanical, and to leave the professionals to interpret them. Mariotti described Bicknell ‘s network of other botanists, his contribution to academic botany, the works in his library, and the dozen plants named after him. Note that his University of Genoa is the administrator of the Hanbury Gardens; the director Luigi Minuti was not present on the day. It was a thrill to see Mariotti’s love for and knowledge of Bicknell pulled together in one paper and and I think will remain a valuable account for a long time.
Dssa. Daniela Gandolfi, head of the International Institute of Ligurian Studies and of the Museo Bicknell which it owns, was fully justified blowing the trumpet about their contribution to the 2018 Clarence Bicknell Centenary. Their efforts in putting together their exhibition, for which Daniela as director was supported over the preparation period of two years by a team of staff and volunteers such as (those I know and have mutually supported) Franca Porra, Elena Riscosso, Bruna Di Paoli, Dr Giovanni Russo, Claudio Roggero, Gisela Merello, and others. The exhibition, whose run has just been extended to the end of March 2019 and will then move on the Finale Ligure and maybe even Genoa. It includes classic material from the Museo, loan items from collections like the Bicknell Collection which I curate and new items (Lotto 2017) purchased by the IISL.
Claudio Littardi accompanied Daniela Gandolfi to talk about the garden of the Museo Bicknell and its rare plants.
The 18-minute film The Marvels of Clarence Bicknell was projected, after which proceedings were drawn to an end without there being time for questions. Pity. More important was wandering up the garden to Carolyn's house for lunch.
I have asked permission to reproduce here the papers from each of the speakers but have not received approval yet.
The conference of 26 January 2019 at the Hanbury Gardens has the title “Clarence Bicknell e Thomas Hanbury: due grandi vittoriani” (Clarence Bicknell and Thomas Hanbury: two great Victorians on the Riviera). These two, whose images are shown here, were men of dignity, science and benevolence, and we consider them both as “great” men. But does this tell the whole story?
I have developed an increasing curiosity about Bicknell and Hanbury’s relationship, and the differences between their personalities. My research and conclusions are published today on this web site... Bicknell and Hanbury relationship in PDF
Valerie Lester in her book MARVELS: The Life of Clarence Bicknell describes the two men as friends . Clarence himself writes of “an old friend of the family”, a different concept, but it is not clear whether Clarence thinks of himself as a friend of the Hanbury family or Hanbury a friend of the Bicknells . I know of no meeting between Sir Thomas and other Bicknells, nor of Clarence and other Hanburys.
Graham Avery, student of Bicknell’s botany, and vice-chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association, writes that Hanbury and Bicknell were not friends . My contribution in this paper is to argue that Clarence’s shyness and inferiority complex might have kept him at a distance from Sir Thomas. He might have felt his station was below that of Sir Thomas. Rather than being Hanbury’s friend, Clarence might have been in awe of him and of his construction of the Hanbury Gardens.
I discuss in my paper Clarence's speech impediment, his inclination to violent prejudices, his prejudice against the pompous, Bicknell family traits, and Clarence's friendship with Alwyn Berger. With with evidence in mind, I think Clarence would have felt ill at ease with Sir Thomas. It would not have been one of Clarence’s priorities to seek out Hanbury’s company; indeed he would have thought of a trip to la Mortola as being an opportunity to talk seeds with Berger. But the two men would have had immense respect for each other and their achievements.
Leggi l'intero articolo in italiano e inglese e guarda i dipinti, nella versione pdf qui
I was honoured to visit on 30th October 2018 in Imperia, 45 kms east of Bordighera, the exhibition of art by Bicknell and his contemporaries on the Riviera. Landscapes by Nestel, van Kleudgen, Edward Lear and others, all familiar in Bordighera and Riviera circles, were exhibited alongside Bicknell’s in the Villa Faravelli up the hill from the town hall and owned by the community.
Organised in the summer and autumn of 2018 by a cooperative, and alongside the galleries of the Museo Arte Contemporanea Imperia, this exhibition Clarence Bicknell e lo Stupore Della Riviera is a perfectly-formed gem. The exhibition explored, according to the publicity, Bicknell’s influence on the circle of artists in the second half of the 19th century in Liguria. The influence might of course have been vice-versa.
Clarence Bicknell, mountain landscape
“Clarence Bicknell, Landscape Artist” is now a valid title, among many, for our favourite post-Darwinian polymath.
Read the whole article in Italian and English, and see the paintings, in the pdf version here
Leggi l'intero articolo in italiano e inglese e guarda i dipinti, nella versione pdf qui
By Helen Blanc-Francard and Marcus Bicknell
Research by Helen Blanc-Francard with additional material from Giselle Merello Folli
A cooperation of the Clarence Bicknell Association
Download this article with its pictures in pdf
Clarence arrived at the twilight of his active life, 76 years old in 1914 as the Great War tore up Europe. He was a pacifist who had devoted himself to Esperanto, the universal language, which he thought could bring peace to all peoples. As his deception grew and old age crept on, Clarence continued to help the wounded soldiers convalescing in Bordighera alongside his regular work helping the poor and aged of the town. Clarence liked doing things with his hands, and knitting was one of them. Maybe handiwork is the characteristic of a man who enjoyed helping others in practical ways, especially in times of crisis (read Valerie Lester’s chapter Terremoto on the earthquake of 1887), working with Padre Giacomo Viale for the poor and sick of Bordighera and during the Great War. Valerie Lester devotes a chapter of MARVELS – The Life of Clarence Bicknell to Good Deeds and the War Years. She writes
“Clarence busied himself with philanthropy and volunteer aid. He worked for the Red Cross; he rolled bandages and made slippers – and presumably caught up with his knitting; he collected medicinal and aromatic plants to sell in benefit of the Red Cross; he made little bags that he filled with sphagnum, a moss, to apply to wounds – apparently one of the best cures – but complained that no one wanted to collect the moss without payment; and he visited the sick and comforted the weary. He described to Edward, not without a certain macabre humour, one of his visits to the sick: ‘Mrs Bonsignore had [her] finger poisoned by a white-thorn spine (probably other poison getting into wound) till at last the finger was cut off & we talked nearly all the time of this cheerful subject, but washed it down with some good wine, while we gazed at the relic of her finger & bone carefully preserved in her purse.’
“He turned his museum over to convalescing soldiers, and noted to Alberto Pelloux that there were army horses in the public garden, and that the Victoria Hall and the Casino were full of the wounded. ‘What a good thing it is to see useless or mischievous places being turned to good account’, he said censoriously. Ever since his first visit to the casino in Monte Carlo, he had loathed gambling and the harm it did.
“‘We have over 500 refugees! What are we to do to help them to live and be clothed and work, which is the most important, if they are not to follow the example of the Bordighotti and become thieves? I really do not know if our unpatriotic town will do its duty or is worthy to have these people . . . We shall all be glad when this night is over and the day breaks, as it must some day.’ Clarence had no patience with the dolce far niente attitude of the locals. In his opinion, everyone, man, woman, and child should pitch in.” When Clarence first arrived in Bordighera, in 1878, he was already a confirmed knitter.
“He moved away from church matters in his entry for 18 October: ‘I finished a pair of woollen baby’s boots & gave them to Imperiale – he is such a dear fellow.’ Clarence took his knitting seriously. He then embarked on a kettle-holder for Imperiale with his monogram in the centre. It was not entirely successful: ‘A “work of heart”: that is all I can say about it, for the design is weak & the execution worse.’ Parrett too was working away, making ‘carpet fringe at a fine rate’ and the Fanshawe ladies ‘beat Kidderminster, Brussels &c &c hollow, by their pretty & comfortable mats & carpets.’ A few weeks later, Clarence took crochet lessons from a Miss Stubberd.”
So it is hardly surprising, given Clarence’s interest in knitting and handiwork, that two researcher-friends, Helen Blanc-Francard and Gisella Merello, in the circle of the Clarence Bicknell Association have come together at the same place.
Nursing the wounded soldiers in Bordighera – Helen Blanc-Francard
In supporting Valerie Lester’s book research in 2016, Helen Blanc-Francard unearthed articles by Ferruccio Poggi drawn from the Journal de Bordighera about the efforts made for wounded soldiers convalescing in Bordighera. We reproduce below in full the three articles by Ferruccio Poggi, of which a typical entry is…"Rilevò l'atto munifico del Signor Bicknell, che lascia gratuitamente all'associazione ed ai soldati convalescenti l'uso dello splendido locale ad uso museo sulla Strada Romana coll'attiguo incantevole giardino".“He noted the bountiful activities of Mr. Bicknell, who gives to the association and the convalescing soldiers, free of charge, the use of the splendid museum room on the Via Romana with its charming garden .”
Helen also found an article by Dorothea Matilda Taylor on nursing the wounded in 1918 in several parts of Italy and the Riviera, which we reproduce in full in Appendix 4 below.
Image, right: Piccoli ospedali da campo furono attendati nell'area pianeggiante, ora occupata dai campi da tennis, e dietro la Casa Bianca.
As well as donations of items like sheets and bandages, war hospitals needed food supplies for the wounded soldiers. British Red Cross V.A.D. members worked as cooks in British Military Hospitals in places like Genoa, Bordighera, Cremona, Arquata Scrivia and Taranto. On average they prepared and served 40,000 meals per month. Dishes for the recovering soldiers included jellies, broth, custard and chicken soufflé.
Photos of convalescing military personnel in Cannes also confirm that if you didn’t actually die, the Cote d’Azur and Bordighera’s luxuriously equipped hotels were a great place to be sent to for re-booting after the horrors of battle and much better that some cold, dismal Scottish stately home. Helen also recorded information on the soldiers who did not make it and who are buried in the Bordighera British Cemetery, and we reproduce a complete list at www.clarencebicknell.com/downloads. The Italians entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria, in May 1915. Commonwealth forces were at the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918, and rest camps and medical units were established at various locations in northern Italy behind the front, some of them remaining until 1919. From the Summer of 1917 until late 1918, the Mediterranean lines of communication for the British Salonika Force ran the length of Italy from Taranto in the south-east, to Turin in the north-west. The 62nd General Hospital was posted at Bordighera from January 1918 to January 1919, and the 66th from January to March 1918. The British cemetery is opposite the town cemetery and was used from November 1917 to January 1919. It contains 72 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, and 12 Austrian war graves.
You can download the complete list of personnel buried at Bordighera British Cemetery in Excel format
The Kitchener Stitch – Gisella Merello
Gisella Merello sent me a copy of the slides she had prepared for a presentation to school children in Bordighera on 4 December 2018. One of the slides caught my eye because of the autocratic moustachioed soldier. What’s he doing there?
To see the images referred to please download the pdf version.
Gisella’s caption reads “He knitted socks for the children of his friends, socks and bandages for the soldiers and the wounded”. Gisella sent me the quote which gave her the reason to include this soldier, who turns out to be Lord Kitchener, whose face dominated the British recruitment poster of 1914 “Your Country Needs You”.
“Lord Kitchener era un appassionato di lavoro a maglia, si fece ritirare durante la guerra boera con in mano i ferri e un calzino in lavorazione (il ritratto (attualmente esposto alla National Portrait Gallery di Londra). Gli si attribuisce l'invenzione della chiusura a punto calza (in inglese Kitchener stitch)”
which translates as
“Lord Kitchener was a knitting enthusiast. He retired during the Boer war. Here he is holding irons and a sock being worked on (the portrait is currently on display at the London National Portrait Gallery). He is credited with the invention of the Kitchener stitch, a way of mending socks”. The Kitchener Stitch is a way of sewing together two pieces of knitting so that they look like a continuous piece of knitting without any seam at all, also called weaving and grafting.
I found more about Kitchener in articles about knitting:
As many knitters know, British, Canadian and American knitters were exhorted by their governments and officially sanctioned organizations such as the Red Cross to knit for the war effort during both World Wars, and the call was readily answered. Knitting was a way for those at home to feel they were actively and materially helping their loved ones at the front, and also helped to soothe the knitters’ anxieties over the dangers faced by their men at the front as well as cope with more generalized worries over the progress of the war.Not only did knitted socks play a role in World War I, but conversely, World War I has had a lasting impact on the knitted sock. Until World War I socks typically had seamed toes, and these seams caused great discomfort for soldiers on forced marches and in the wet and muddy trenches, where those seams rubbed the men’s toes raw, which in turn could result in dangerous infections. The British Secretary of State for War, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, associated himself with the Red Cross drive to urge women to knit “comforts” or items for the men in the military, particularly mittens, socks and scarves. He was concerned about the foot problems the sock seams caused and personally contributed a pattern for socks which included a seamless grafting technique that would come to be known as the “Kitchener stitch”.
The Kitchener stitch is still widely used today. Knitty.com has a tutorial on how to work the Kitchener stitch, and there are a number of YouTube videos that demonstrate it, such as this one. Lord Kitchener is credited with inventing this technique himself, but I’m skeptical as to whether he actually did. Apparently there is no real evidence of it, and I think it much more likely that, at most, he recognized the need for a seamless sock toe, asked a knitter of his acquaintance to figure out a way to create one, and then took the credit in order to use his famous (and, at the time, revered) name to promote it.
So it turns out that knitting was a vital part of the war effort, of activities in Bordighera and of Bicknell’s contribution.
Download this article with its pictures in pdf
The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, has now listed their complete collection of Clarence Bicknell watercolours, over 400 of them at
or http://webapps.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/explorer/ and search for "bicknell, clarence"
50 of the entries, both symmetrical images and his Victorian whimsy, have full colour picture and they are lovely to look through.
They are downloadable too!
Clarence's centenary rumbles on. Here is a cracking 2 page article on him in the glossy high-end Riviera Insider magazine, nicely written. Thank you Nicole.
See the whole magazine at https://issuu.com/rivieratimes/docs/riviera_insider_november_december_2_73274e7139bcfc
"Clarence Bicknell – In the Past for the Future"
Exhibition at Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri & Museo Bicknell, Bordighera
Report by Graham Avery, Vice-Chairman of the Clarence Bicknell Association (the "written by" credit above is provided by default by our web structure Joomla: Marcus onlo uploaded Graham's piece).
This exhibition organised by the Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri and the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera was inaugurated on 18 July 2018, to celebrate the centenary of Clarence Bicknell’s death. The exhibition is presented in an impressive way, partly in the building of the IISL and partly in the Museo. It is an admirable tribute to the man who founded the Museo, and a ‘must’ for anyone interested in his life and work.
In a brief review it is not possible to describe all the interesting material displayed, and in this note I mention only some of the highlights. One of the outstanding features of the exhibition is the quantity of new material relating to Clarence (documents, photographs, books and other objects) which the Museo has recently acquired. This collection is described as ‘Lotto Bicknell 2017’, and since some of it evidently belonged to Clarence’s faithful assistant Luigi Pollini, one may guess that the collection was preserved by his family. There are some excellent photos of Pollini such as the one on the right.
Photos of Clarence's dog Mahdi in 1904
Ornate column in Egypt, watercolour by Clarence in 1890
Clarence’s faithful assistant Luigi Pollini in 1900
A fascinating display panel ‘Viaggi Esperantisti, Viaggi vicini e lontani’ (Esperanto Travels, Travels near and far’ shows how Clarence travelled to many countries in Europe and elsewhere, through his interest in Esperanto, botany, and archaeology. Valerie Lester’s biography Marvels: The Life of Clarence Bicknell recounts these travels in more detail: for example, Clarence went to Esperanto World Congresses in Boulogne, Geneva, Cambridge, Cracow and Paris; he did not, however, visit Tasmania or New Zealand.
Among the material from Lotto Bicknell 2017 are many photographs, including Album 5 with 172 photographs of Bordighera, the Maritime Alps, flora and soon, all in excellent condition. In this album, for example, is a photograph of Villa Garnier, Bordighera, around 1900, from which it can be seen that many of these photographs were annotated by Clarence Bicknell’s friend Fritz Mader, who was a prolific photographer as well as alpinist, botanist, speleologist, geographer and author.
A display panel ‘Bicknell e lo spirito esperantista’ shows a fascinating photograph of Clarence and others at the Esperanto World Congress in Cambridge in 1907.
A display panel ‘Bicknell’s world e Bicknell’s friends’ shows participants in a botanical congress at Hanbury Gardens, La Mortola, in 1912, including Clarence Bicknell and other botanists whom he knew such as Augusto Beguinot (Clarence’s first biographer), Fritz Mader, Alwyn Berger (Curator of Hanbury Gardens), Otto Penzig (Professor of Botany at Genova), as well as Eva Mameli (mother of the famous author Italo Calvino). Image right
Associated with this panel is a remarkable display of letters and documents from scholars and others entitled ‘Le lettere del mondo dei studiosi a Clarence Bicknell (Lotto Bicknell 2017)’ [Images 10-12]. The persons mentioned in this display are:
Antonio Magni 1844-1933, medico, archeologo e storico di Como
Gabriel Gustafson 1853-1933, archeologo, scopritore della nave di Osemberg
Burkhard Reber 1848-1926, archeologo, botanico e farmacista svizzero
Emile Carttailhac 1843-1921, studioso di preistoria francese
Henri Ferrand 1853-1926, avvocato, geografo e alpnisita francese
George Coffey 1857-1916, archeologo e nazionalista irlandese
Alberto Pelloux 1868-1918, mineralogista italiano
Antomio Taramelli 1863-1939, archeologo noto per i suoi studi in Sardegna, and
Luigi Pollini, braccio destro e amico di Clarence Bicknell.
It is to be hoped that these interesting letters, together with the rest of the important material acquired by the Museo, will be catalogued and made available to the research community.
Submitted by Graham Avery 25/07/2018
Note from Marcus Bicknell. The exhibition has had good reviews and a certain amount of publicity in the press and on television. Here are two stills from San Remo TV which reported in full on the exhibition and the Clarence Bicknell Centenary.
Les Botanistes au Sommet
Exhibition by the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle de Nice
in the Bibliotheque Louis Nocera in Nice, Sept-Oct 2018
29 October 2018 Visit report by Marcus Bicknell
Olivier Gerriet showed me round on a Monday which is normally closed, which was kind. The exhibition has had good reactions from visitors and quite good numbers. We met an assistant director of the library who was sad it was closing so soon but there has to be an exhibition about the end of WWI still this year.There is interest from other local museums to show the exhibition; Gerriet is coordinating that with the Parc de Mercantour. I have told him they can keep the CB items; only the pocket sketch books are of any intrinsic value, i.e. irreplaceable. Gerriet did not confirm that they would keep them.
Each botanist has an individual roll-up poster display (Clarence’s pictured right) which Susie and I saw early in the process. We contributed to and corrected CB’s text. Much of the CB material we provided is displayed in a glass-topped cabinet, image, left; 2 pocket sketch books; 2 print proof pages from Flowering Ferns; wooden box of watercolour paints and brushes; 2 landscapes reproduced on framed canvas; photo prints of CB in the mountains; 3 reports of Fitzwilliam symmetrical patterns. A copy of Flowering Ferns of their own is displayed.
The period photo (left) of the Cime Bicknell is not immediately identifiable as the same as the photo we know; it’s a wide range, of which one is Bicknell 2600m, alongside Paracuerta (2385m) and Santa Maria (2739m)... the Massif du Gelas, photo taken from le Mont Claminejas (2919m) by Victor de Cessole in 1908.
Having visited the Bodini Museum in Parma a few weeks ago I was interested in some original botanical books as early as the 17th century and an early edition of one of Linneaus’s Species Plantarum of 1799. One of the original lithograph stones, 80 mm thick, from which Barca’s book of drawings was printed is displayed alongside the print that comes from it.
The organisers’ description of the items in the exhibition are on the next pages.
We thank Olivier Gerriet and Jean-Félix Gandioli warmly for their work in favour of informing people about Clarence Bicknell and for the excellent exhibition.
You can download a copy of this article, with additional material such as the organisers' description of the contents of the exhibition here