Monart glass was produced between 1924 and 1961 at the Moncreiff Glassworks in Perth. The company originally specialised in industrial tubing and heat resistant glass until Isabel, wife of owner John Moncreiff, took on Salvador Ysart, a Spanish glassblower, to design a range of art glass. Together with his four sons, Paul, Augustine, Vincent and Antoine, Salvador produced over 300 designs including jars, lamps and vases. Production of the majority of Monart glass ceased in 1939 at the outbreak of war. Afterwards, Paul, the eldest son of Salvador, resumed production on a small scale specialising in paperweights.
Salvador used a distinctive process to create his pieces, rolling the molten glass gathers in brightly coloured crushed enamel then coating them in clear glass before blowing the shapes, resulting in a unique design each time. He also used copper, silver and cloisonné as decoration. Paul’s paperweights were decorated with three dimensional images of fish, animals, birds and typically, butterflies, or millefiori designs. During the 1930s Monart glass was stocked by prestigious outlets including Liberty’s of London.
Contemporary collectors were slow to recognise Monart’s value, as it was made in small quantities and was often unsigned. Modern collectors appreciate the simple shapes and rich, striking decoration though, and the current market is buoyant for Monart glassware. As most pieces were free-blown and unique, good examples have become very desirable. Pieces were often unsigned, but the presence of a ring-shaped ‘Pontil’ mark where the glass was cut off the rod, or a paper label marked with the Monart trademark, will add value. As with all decorative items, the value of Monart glassware is largely dependent on the age and condition of the individual piece. Paul Ysart’s paperweights were often also anonymous but occasionally signed with a ‘PY’ cane. As prices have risen, more examples carrying a fake mark have come onto the market so pieces with a good provenance will have a higher value.
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