The Bargain Hunter strikes again with a collectible Manart vase bought for pounds 8 but worth pounds 300
ALTHOUGH the vase pictured here was bought in a charity shop in South Wales, it comes from a different Celtic country - and that is Scotland.
For this is a Monart vase made in Perth in the 1930s.
Monart glass was produced in Moncrieff's Glassworks from about 1924 until 1961.
Moncrieff's was primarily a manufacturer of scientific and industrial glass. It was the owner's wife, Isobel Moncrieff, who had the idea of branching out into art glass, designing the early shapes and colours herself.
The glass was made by Salvador Ysart and his four sons, Paul, Augustine, Vincent and Antoine.
They were a family of glassmakers from Barcelona who had come to Scotland via France.
The name 'Monart' is said to derive from a combination of the first three letters of Moncrieff and the last three of their surname, Ysart.
Monart glass was sold in prestigious outlets such as Liberty's in London and Tiffany's in New York. It was not widely taken up by collectors, however, until after the publication of the book Ysart Glass in 1990.
Since then, it has become highly collectible, and rare pieces can sell for four-figure sums.
The vase in the picture, which is just over 8ins high, is fairly typical of early Monart with its combination of bright mottled and darker colours.
This effect was created by rolling clear glass in crushed coloured enamels and then casing the result in another layer of glass, before blowing it into the desired shape.
Sometimes gold flecks of aventurine were added, or silver mica flakes, the latter coming from Christmas decorations bought in Woolworth's!
While Paul Ysart continued making Monart glass, Vincent, Augustine and their father, Salvador, left in 1947 to make a similar range of glass called Vasart.
Vasart glass is usually less 'blobby' in appearance than Monart, as they used finer powdered enamels, and was produced in a softer palette of colours, often incorporating swirled decoration.
In its turn, Vasart was succeeded by Strathearn Glass in the mid 1960s.
Vessels by Vasart and Strathearn are generally easier to identify than those by Monart and tend to be cheaper.
Vasart glass is usually signed on the base, while Strathearn is marked with a leaping salmon. Monart, however, used paper labels, and more often than not these are missing. Our vase has most of its paper label still intact, which increases its value, although someone has had a good go at scraping it off.
This label includes the shape letter B, the colour code 96 and the size code vii. Post-war Monart labels omit the colour code.
Identification of Monart glass depends ultimately on familiarity with its colours, shapes and feel.
The website www.ysartglass.com includes lots of information and pictures, including useful images of the ways in which Monart and Vasart finished the pontil mark, where the glass was originally attached to the pontil rod.
In Monart glass, this is usually raised from the surface and ground flat, while in the case of Vasart, it's normally ground away completely.
The value of Monart tends to fluctuate.
There was a big sale of it at Christie's in 2003 when prices were quite high. They've fallen a bit since then, largely because of the number of fakes which have come onto the market. Confusion is also possible with some glass made by Whitefriars, Gray-Stan and Nazeing. Two-coloured cellophane glass, produced in either Stourbridge or Bohemia, adds to the confusion, as does some modern Czech glass.
In my opinion, all this adds to the excitement and challenge of identifying genuine Monart. It's well worth being able to, as shown by our vase. Although it only cost pounds 8, it's currently worth about pounds 300.