Clarence seems to be adored by those that know about his work, as much for the character of the man (benefactor, charity worker, thinker, humanist, pacifist and esperantist) as for his work (botanist, artist, collector and archaeologist) . Mention his name in his corner of the Franco-Italian Alps and Riviera – Bordighera, Tende, La Brigue and Casterino – and his memory is cherished. This enthusiasm for his work called for somewhere on the web where those interested in Clarence can find in one place a host of web links, books, magazines and other sources of material which exist in various places. Material on this page has been available since 2012 on

It is our intention to put in one place links to other existing documentation of collections of Clarence’s work for example in the Museo Bicknell (Bordighera), the Institute for Ligurian Studies (Genoa), Musee des Merveilles (Tende), Casa Fontanalba (Casterino), the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) and private family collections. The purpose of this page, and one of the purposes of the Clarence Bicknell Association, is to stimulate research by others and to provide support, sources and a forum for them.

As a result of our efforts we are pleased to confirm that an international group of researchers is applying for funding for a 5 year project on aspects of Clarence Bicknell’s work and his relevance to modern day studies. We will post more information late in 2016 when the funding is secured.

Collection in the Bicknell family – available to researchers

vellum visitors book 39c

Visitors’ book

Visitors book of the Casa Fontanalba, Clarence’s house at Casterino, vellum bound. 1906-1918 and later. The visitors book is illustrated with water colours of flora of the region. An image of the outer of the book is shown to the right.

Transcript of names in the visitors book of the Casa Fontanalba, Clarence’s house at Casterino. This list of visitors shows the wide range of Clarence’s interests and the company he kept.  Free of charge. Click here to download and consult tab 1 Visitors Book (click bottom left). Please inform Marcus of any errors in the spelling of names etc. You could also ask me for a scan of a particular signature if you want to look in more detail. An image of a sample page of the book is shown to the left. Email testmail

VIP Book 2013 1aClarence’s Esperanto book of friends

  • Clarence’s book of friends, mostly visitors to the Casa Fontanalba,  Clarence’s house at Casterino, vellum bound.
  • Transcript of names in book of friends, mostly visitors to the Casa Fontanalba,  Clarence’s house at Casterino. These are people for whom he wanted to write a short biography, in Esperanto! Some of the names are the same as in the visitors book (above). Free of charge. 

scan hi 9 CartailhacCollection at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK – search their online database or visit the museum by appointment
415 items according to their web site (some of the important item references below) given by my uncle Peter Bicknell in 1980. The jewel in their crown is the Book of Berries by Clarence, a vellum bound hand-drawn book of fruit and flowers in honour of his friend Margaret Berry (pun intended). The museum has not made images available online yet and we are in touch with them to find out if this will happen in the future. The material is best researched through their OPAC database for example by clicking here.

Collection at the Museo Bicknell in Bordighera, Italy – search their online database or visit the museum by appointment
Information available in print to Marcus; to be added here soon.

Collection at the Institute of Ligurian Studies in Genoa, Italy – search their online database or visit the museum by appointment
Information available in print to Marcus; to be added here soon.

Collection at the Musée des Merveilles, Tende, France – visit the museum by appointment
Information available in print to Marcus; to be added here soon.

Publications referred to on the internet
One of the longest lists of Clarence’s works is on a database called FRANTIQ (Fédération et ressources sur l’Antiquité) – Catalogue Collectif Indexé which you can access by clicking here

Addresses of sites with collections of, or an interest in, Clarence Bicknell and his work. 

Research arising out of this page

Graham Avery, researching into the work of botanist Reginald Farrer, came across his name in Clarence’s visitors’ book. The resulting article is a fascinating cameo of the lives of Farrer and Bicknell when they met at the Casa Fontanalba, and what the undercurrent was when they did so. I am delighted at this piece as it justifies already, for me, the effort of transcribing the hand-written documents onto the internet. It’s my OBH (On Beacon Hill) newsletter 12 and can be downloaded here

You can help

Between 2015 and 2018 there will be two ongoing research initiatives, the EU-funded Clarence Bicknell 2018 Research Project involving 6 institutes from 4 European countries and the work of Clarence Bicknell’s biographer Valerie Browne Lester aided by members of the Clarence Bicknell Association including Susie and Marcus Bicknell, Helen Blanc-Francard, Christopher Chippindale and Graham Avery. If you have any source material on any of the topics covered on this web site or relating to Clarence’s life, please email or via In particular, we have doubts or need for further source material on the following details:

1) Clarence’s education, including in Brighton like his brothers, before Trinity College Cambridge. Which school or which tutor?

2) At Cambridge Clarence Bicknell fell under the influence of religious thinkers including those in the Oxford Movement. Who were they? With which of them was he in contact?

3) At Walworth and thereafter in Stoke-upon-Tern as a curate, Clarence Bicknell was active in the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit (Societas Sancti Spiritus) with Rowland Corbet and others. What can you tell us about this order, their beliefs and their influence?

4) Among those at Stoke-upon-Tern, and in Bordighera shortly therafter, were the following individuals. Do you have a diary by one of them or any source material which can shed liight on their beliefs and their relationship with Clarence Bicknell?

Rev Hubert George Morse (Clergy House, Walworth)
Rev Frederick William Puller (Clergy House, Walworth)
Rev John Going, Pastor of St Pauls Walworth
Rev Luke Rivington
Rev Rowland William Corbet (1839-1919), Walworth, “Oxford Movement”, founder of the Societas Sancti Spiritus (Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit)
Richard Meux Benson, founder with Corbet of the Giovanni Battista Society of Oxford
Rev Charles Egerton Fiennes Stafford at Stoke on Tern.
William Ding, Lichfield
Rev Percival Clementi-Smith, member of Societas Sancti Spiritus (Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit) and visited other churches with Clarence in 1874
Rev Arthur Heintz Paine
Mrs Russell Gurney (Lord Mount Temple)
George MacDonald (Lord Mount Temple), Scottish writer living in Bordighera

5) What was the extent of Clarence Bicknell’s inheritance from his rich father Elhanan, how did he invest it, and can it really have lasted him all his life including investment in hostels for the poor in Walworth, Stoke-upon-Tern and Bordighera, the Museo Bicknell, the library and the Casa Fontanalba?

6) Who was Alice Campbell? Enzo Bernardini in 1971 and others refer to Clarence Bicknell’s close friend Alice Campbell at his deathbed and buried alongside him at Tende. We have no trace of any original source material to this effect. Help us please./

7) Another myth might be that Clarence Bicknell died of mushroom poisoning. True or false? What source material, in an academic sense, can you provide?

8) Some considered him influential in the early days of the Esperanto movement and he participated in the Universal Congresses of Boulogne, Barcelona and Cambridge. Was he a leader with a role, or an ardent follower?

If you have source material please email or Valerie Lester via

To contribute to these pages or to offer advice and corrections please write or email me at:
Marcus Bicknell
Homefarm Orchard, Threehouseholds
Chalfont St.Giles, Bucks HP8 4LP, U.K.