More recently, I've been recording rare chairs made by Clissett that cross over between these two styles. Most remarkable of these is the timber-seated ladderback found by Paul Shutler in 2016, and stamped PC on the tops of the back legs, just like Clissett's spindle backs. Now, here we have another, up for sale at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood of Exeter.
I should be wary, by now, of making definitive statements about Clissett, he has so often proved us wrong. But this chair probably does deserve to be called unique. It's interesting for several reasons, not least because it's a rare four-rung chair, and the first I've seen in an adult size. There are several other reasons to suggest this chair was a one-off special order. The seat is deeper than normal, the deepest seat I've seen on one of Clissett's chairs. And the feet! Instead of the usual vase-shaped turning that Clissett used on his spindlebacks, or the simple tapered plain feet on the ladderbacks, both turned down from the legs, these feet are a full half-inch wider than the legs. Why would this be? The bottom of the legs have shallow holes in a pattern that suggests the chair has been fitted with plate castors, with three screws around the perimeter of each. These have been removed and, I think, a little of each foot sawn off. The castors are a good enough reason for the wide foot, and we can conclude fairly safely that they were an original fitting.
Otherwise, the chair follows pretty much the pattern of most of Clissett's spindleback armchairs in respect of other features such as the arms, arm support turning, and stretcher pattern (which is the less common of the two patterns he used). So, aside from the feet, it's a rare hybrid between the ladderbacks and spindlebacks. And, of course, most importantly, it's stamped with Clissett's initials on the tops of both back legs.