IAN Turner’s 142-lot collection of Monart sold by Christie’s South Kensington was the largest auction dispersal of this colourful Scottish art glass to date.
Offered on September 24, it was 95 per cent sold by lot and
Turner had spent 20 years scouring dealers' shops, auctions and
fairs in the UK for all manner of vases, bowls, paperweights and
lamps by the Ysarts, the Spanish family of glass blowers that
produced the art glass for Perth-based North British Glassworks
He had also contributed to several books including
Ysart, edited by Frank Andrews, 1990, and wrote the
article on inter-War Monart for the British Glass Between The
Wars exhibition at Broadfield House Glass Museum, 1987 -
a landmark show responsible for bringing Monart to the wider
attention of the collecting fraternity.
"He was a pioneering force in the market in terms of his
academic interest in the field and his collecting," explained Joy
McCall. His collection complete, he stopped buying Monart about 18
months ago and has decided to turn his attention to ceramics.
"We broke no records in terms of prices but by virtue of holding
the sale we broke new ground and the prices realised can only be
seen as a step forward," she added.
Retailed in Scotland, England and the US, the demand for Monart
glass continues to be focused exclusively in these countries where
it remains a collector-driven market. "There is often
no rhyme or reason as to why individual entries sell. It is a whim
market, people buy what they like," explained Joy McCall.
The difference in the prices realised for two vases offered in
consecutive lots towards the end of the sale illustrated these
fickle market machinations and the difficulties in setting
estimates. Although an opaque pink stoneware vase skilfully
modelled with pulled up green and black panels was a one-off
example, from the personal collection of Paul Ysart, and made to
celebrate the end of the Second World War, it still failed to reach
its low estimate of £2500 and sold for £1800.
Above: the Monart Paisley Shawlvase which made £2800 at
By contrast, the visual appeal of a highly decorative green,
blue and white Paisley Shawl vase was enough to see
this sell at £2800 against pre-sale hopes of £1500-1800.
While many entries sold on personal preference, the success of
the highlight could be attributed to more traditional collecting
criteria. The Paul Ysart paperweight containing a Monart vase with
aventurine on a black ground, with a PY cane and a paper label
marked Personal PY, was one of only five such paperweights
thought to exist.
Purchased by Ian Turner directly from the personal collection of
Paul Ysart (whose family own a second example), it was never
produced for retail. Although it had been dropped and slightly
bruised, a private European buyer contested it to £4200 against a
Colour schemes played an important factor in some of the prices
realised. The vivid orange, yellow and green hues of a mushroom
lamp made this a must-have for more than one buyer and a private
Scottish collector went to £2800 for ownership, while the mottled
green and yellow tones of an identically shaped lamp in the
following lot that lacked some pigmentation to its shade fetched a
more modest £1800.
Similarly, the more muted hues of an orange, brown and white
lamp in excellent condition and estimated to fetch £4000-6000
failed to spark a bidding battle and it sold for £3000.
In total, 15 works broke through the £1000 barrier but there was
no shortage of interest for the more financially accessible entries
that formed the bulk of the collection.
To give a idea of the range, a purple, blue-streaked and mottled
green dressing table set, comprising two lidded bowls, ring stand
and candlestick, fetched £900, a mottled green and blue whorled
ginger jar sold for £1100, a millefiore cane ink bottle with blue
and yellow stripes was taken to £600 and a mottled fluorescent pink
vase with a white interior - Turner's first Monart purchase bought
in 1983 - went for £320.
The buyer's premium was 17.5/10%