French Botanists at Casa Fontanalba in 1910

The Casa Fontanalba Visitors’ Book, of which we published a reproduction in 2017, continues to reveal stories of Clarence and his eminent friends. Graham Avery has made a new breathrough in finding a report of the Société Botanique de France about the visit of certain of their members to Clarence’s house in the mountains. Not least, correlation with the members in the report help us determine the spellings of the names and the identities of the visitors (image below).

“We could not leave this charming alpine station without greeting the venerable philanthropist and botanist of Bordighera, Mr. Clarence Bicknell, who received us in his chalet with his usual affability. He had taken the trouble, in advance of our arrival, to have picked for us some rare species which we could not have found in the short time at our disposal. He generously distributed to us freshly picked specimens of plants found in Val Fontanalba:”

Opposite the signatures is Clarence’s watercolour of Gentiana lutea, right.

Read Graham’s article at