Clarence Bicknell learned Esperanto in 1897, having previously studied Volapuk which enjoyed some success as a planned international language before being largely superseded by Esperanto.

Bicknell must have started writing Esperanto around 1900 because his piece “La Piemonta Valo Pesio” (The Piedmont Pesio Valley) appeared in the collection Esperantaj Prozajo (Pieces of Esperanto Prose) in 1902 edited by Louis de Beaufront. He attended the first major international gathering of Esperanto-speakers which took place in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, in 1905, at which the creator of Esperanto, the Polish ophthalmologist Ludoviko Lazaro Zamenhof, gave the keynote speech. Around this time Bicknell began writing poetry in Esperanto and became the first laureate of the Internaciaj Floraj Ludoj (International Floral Games) held in Barcelona, Spain, in 1909. His original poems (“popular but somewhat primitive”1) appeared in contemporary periodicals including La Revuo (The Review) (1906-1914) and The British Esperantist. Many poems, however, remained in manuscript form.

A meeting of the Bordighera Esperanto group Antauen in about 1905

In 1966, Kalocsay wrote in his study on Bicknell in Norda Prismo (Northern Prism): “One can ponder on C. Bicknell’s learning Esperanto at the age of 55 and his being probably over 60 when he produced his first poems, having to strive more than ten years before he succeeded in expressing himself directly in poetry.”

Bicknell was also a translator into Esperanto of works including Thomas Macaulay’s “Horacio” in 1906; Tennyson’s “Gvinevero” (Guinevere) in 1907, Julian Sturgis’s “Rikoltado de la Pecoj” (the one-act comedy “Harvesting the Pieces),  “Ŝakludo” in 1915 (from Giacosa’s Una partita a scacchi 1915) and William Wordsworth’s “La Narcisoj” (The Daffodils) published in 1926.

He produced a number of hymns that are still in use (seven translations and one original in Adoru Kantante (1971), and nine texts in Adoru (2001). Clarence contributed greatly to the first Esperanto collection of Christian hymns, “Ordo de Diservo”, 1907. (see note from Leland Bryant Ross and sheet music of one of Clarence’s hymns below)

An umbrella pot painted by Clarence Bicknell with proverbs in Esperanto; in the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera.

The walls of his mountain home, the Casa Fontanalba, and other items like the umbrella pots in the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera (photo, right), are painted with inscriptions in Esperanto. His Book of Guests at the Casa Fontanalba consists of mini-bios of the people who visited him, all in Esperanto. See the reproductions in the row of images at the bottom of this page.

He was active in work on behalf of the blind, and transcribed many Esperanto books into braille. He gave financial support to Esperanto organisations, transcribed Esperanto texts into Braille produced several of them as publications. He founded an Esperanto group in Bordighera, Italy (photo, above left), and remained its president until his death (source: Enciklopedio de Esperanto, 1933; rpt. 1986).

Note from Paul Gubbins (brita esperantisto, esperanto-aŭtoro, redaktoro, ĵurnalisto kaj instruisto), February 2013:

“The 1918 editions of The British Esperantist, in which Clarence’s obituary would have appeared, are the only ones to be missing from the on-line archive of this publication. This will have to wait until I can find a paper copy in the Butler Esperanto library at our HQ in Barlaston. I have, however, downloaded a charming obit – if that’s not a contradiction in terms! – from the principal international Esp. publication which, when time permits (up to my ears at the moment, but then aren’t we all?) I’ll translate. I think you’ll like it.”

Note from Leland Bryant Ross (American Baptist layman and hymnologist – Universala Esperanto-Asocio, Seattle,  USA), January 2013:

“Clarence contributed greatly to the first Esperanto collection of Christian hymns, “Ordo de Diservo”, 1907. has the hymn section in page scans, and as you can see the first four hymns (not counting the “Doksologio”) are original works of his, and the fifth is one of his translations. We are planning a symposium concerning Esperanto hymnody and hymnology, to be convened in Cambridge, England, during the last week of July, 2015, in conjunction with the joint meeting of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Hymn Society of the US & Canada, and the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Hymnologie. Although the focus of the meeting will be more general than “Clarence Bicknell, himnoverkisto”, that is indeed the subject of a paper I am hoping to present there.”

And notes from the editor, Marcus Bicknell, to all Esperantists visiting this site

a) It is our intention to provide every page of this site in Esperanto, but of course we need the translations. It is tempting to use Google translate isn’t it!? Would you like to try your hand at translating a page or two, even if I cannot guarantee it would be used (the officials of the international associations will give a quick read through)? Let me know before you start so that there is no duplication of effort. info @

b) We welcome your input on the Forum; would you be so kind as to use English so that other Clarence bicknell followers get a feel for your points of view and concerns. If you want to converse on Clarence subjects please use an Esperanto forum; then tell me the URL and I will link from here. Thanks!

Further documents on this web site

Clarence Bicknell – Person of Ideas                                          2014 – Humphrey Tonkin, for the Twilight Club, Hertford, CT
Clarence Bicknell – Filantrope ed Esperantista in italiano         2013 – Humphrey Tonkin, Revuo de Itala Esperanto-Federacio
Clarence Bicknell – obituary in the Esperantist magazine          1918 – anon
Clarence Bicknell – Poems in Esperanto (up to 1918)               2013 – collated by the late Paul Gubbins

We thank many Esperantists for their interest and research into Bicknell’s Esperanto, including
Davide Astori
Wera Blanke
Bill Chapman
Renato Corsetti
Ralph Dumain
Magnus Fishdyke
Elisabetta Formaggio
Mauro Gaggiero
Cristina de Giorgi
Federico Gobbo
The late Paul Gubbins
Olga Kerzjuk
Prof Ilona Koutny
Michela Lipari
Nicola Minnaja
Seán Ó Riain
Tim Owen
Leland Bryant Ross (Ros’ Haruo)
Andrew Sly
Ida Stria
Geoffrey Sutton
Angela Tellier
Maja Tisljar
Prof Humphrey Tonkin

A short bibliography of Clarence Bicknell’s Esperanto works in the Museo Bicknell:

Parnassia palustris. in La Revuo majo 1908 pp. 1-4

Julian Sturgis, La Rikoltado de la Pecoj traduzione di Clarence Bicknell, Paris [s.d]

Macaulay, Horatio el la Baladoj pri antikva romo, tradukis C. Bicknell, Bordighera

La Piemonia Valo Pesio in Esperanta Prozajoj 1907 pp. 33-35

Alfred Tennyson, Gvinevero kaj Aliaj Poemoj tradukis Clarence Bicknell. Bordighera

Giuseppe Giacosa, Sakludo tradukis el la itala lingvo Clarence Bicknell, Bordighera,

La prahstoriaj gravurajoj sur rokoj en la Italaj Maralpoj in Internacia Scienca
Revuo n. 66 Junio 1909 pp. 161-170

Poemi in esperanto di Clarence Bicknell (inediti, pp. 109). Copia conservata
nell’Archivio Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri di Bordighera – Fondo Bicknell
(dono di Bill Auld di Clackmannashire tramite Christopher Chippindale). L’originale
è conservato presso l’Archivio di Esperanto di Rotterdam.

Links to documents on other sites,98,0,0,1,0