An exhibition of Country Chairs, which opens in Ledbury on Saturday, celebrates the bi-centenary of the birth of Bosbury chairbodger, Philip Clissett.

Once, chair-bodgers could be found in many villages across the country using local materials to make basic furniture like tables and chairs. Philip Clissett (1817-1913) who lived most of his life in Bosbury, near Ledbury, used hand tools and timber from local woods to make fairly commonplace stick back chairs. Had it not been for his longevity, Clissett may have been just one of many such country craftsmen consigned to obscurity.

In fact he lived long enough to be “discovered” by members of The Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century – a group of artists, architects and designers for whom the skill of a maker and use of traditional materials were a major concern. Some of Clissett’s later chairs, with rush seats, became popular with architects, designers and their clients living far from his Herefordshire home and it is likely that he and some members of the movement worked together to produce these chairs which are now held in national collections.

More recently the green-woodworking movement re-discovered Clissett. With concern for sustainability and careful use of natural resources, his way of working fitted in very well with theirs. The exhibition shows several examples of Country Chairs made this year. Chairs and makers come from as far afield as Japan and as close by as Bosbury and Bishops Frome. All show some relationship to Clissett and his Herefordshire Cottage Industry.

The exhibition of Country Chairs runs at Tinsmiths, 8a High Street, Ledbury, Herefordshire from Saturday, until July 29. Opening hours 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday.

On Saturday, July 15 at 4pm, local green woodworker Mike Abbott will give a talk - Square Peg in a Round Hole - at the Burgage Hall in Ledbury.