Bicknell family in the Merveilles 1988

Bicknell family in the Merveilles 1988

1988 was the year when I, Marcus, first organised a trip for family members to the Vallée des Merveilles, on the Italian-French border looking over the Mediterranean. This is the place, the rock art and the botany made famous by great great grand uncle Clarence Bicknell who died (naturally) up in these mountains in 1918.

I think of it today because I have just received a copy of a photo I had never seen before… several close family members and me (looking rather youthful, just 40 years old) posing for the camera up in the Merveilles. If you would like to know more about the others on the trip and in the photo, please let me know ( and I’ll add the info here.

The local dignatories had organised all manner of Clarence events including a terrific exhibition in the nearby Musée de Merveilles on the French side for which the poster (below) was memorable, below. I have a high definition jpeg of this which I can send to any Bicknell free-of-charge for reproduction.

If you are ever in France or Italy and go on the Clarence pilgrimage (it’s well worth while) don’t miss the museum he created which still bears his name, the Museo Bicknell, in Bordighera on the Italian side.

Uncle Peter Bicknell, who gave seven of Clarence’s extraordinary vellum-bound albums of watercolours to the Fitzwillima Museum in Cambridge, England, in that year, presented at a seminar at the Museo Bicknell a paper on Clarence… a paper which became the focal point for the intensive research into Clarence, the creation of the website in 2013, the production of the 18-minute film and the biography MARVELS – The Life of Clarence Bicknell by Valerie Lester for his anniversary in 2018. Peter’s paper on Clarence can be downloaded in pdf here.

1988 was also the publication date of one of the many papers about the rock engravings of the Merveilles, 11,000 of which Clarence discovered, traced and catalogued, Rock carvings of the Merveilles by Louis Barral and Suzanne Simone, Monaco, in pdf here.

You can read much more at Clarence’s web site and you can join the Clarence Bicknell Association there.

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