Biography - the story of Philip Clissett and the Clissett chairmaking dynasty
Philip Clissett was born in 1817 at Birtsmorton in Worcestershire. In his youth, he had four relatives who worked as chairmakers, including his father and brother and, inevitably, he learnt the craft too, following not only his father but his grandfather too.
The story of his marriage to Mary Cole, and how he moved to Bosbury in Herefordshire gathering other chairmakers around him, has been told before - parts of it many times over with many discrepancies and errors (see the Bibliography below). His discovery by the Arts & Crafts Movement is also well known. Now, it is possible to retell the whole story in much more detail, with all the sources identified.
Part 1 of the Biography covers Philip's ancestors and uncovers previously unknown chairmakers in his family.
Part 2 of the Biography details Philip's own life, revealing the family links between the Bosbury chairmakers.
Part 3 of the Biography briefly describes the lives of Philip's brother Cyrus and his chairmaking descendants in Newport, Monmouthshire.
Part 4 is a temporary section that will eventually be incorporated in a chapter on Clissett's relationship to the Arts & Crafts movement. It describes the connection between Clissett and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The Appendices contain career tables of all the Clissett and allied chairmakers mentioned in the Biography.
The Bibliography contains information on all known articles about Philip Clissett. Most are entirely about Clissett himself, but larger works have been listed if they are important to the Clissett story. Together, these articles do not tell a coherent story; details are often contradictory. Moreover, they almost never give the sources of their information. Hopefully, information on this website sorts out the contradictions as well as adding to the story.
Still to come...
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