Salvador Ysart started his glass blowing career in Barcelona, moving to France around 1909 where he worked for different glass companies. In 1915 following the outbreak of WWI, Salvador brought his wife and four sons to Scotland - joining Moncrieff’s North British Glassworks at Perth in 1922 with his eldest son Paul to make laboratory glass. At this time traditional crystal cut glass was suffering a slump in demand so, when Isobel Moncrieff (married to owner, John Moncrieff) saw a vase made by Salvador at the factory for a raffle prize, she realised its commercial potential. During 1923 this new range was developed and christened “Monart Ware”. Launched in 1924, production was the sole responsibility of Salvador and Paul – with Salvador’s other sons (Augustine, Vincent and Antoine) joining then by 1935. Initially production was sporadic and based on orders received however popularity grew with Monart Ware sold in London by Liberty’s as well as being exported to Australia and North America.
Study of the company’s records suggest that Isobel and Salvador were responsible for the colour combinations whilst Paul designed the shapes. Monart glass was produced in a much wider variety of colourways, surface treatments and shapes than any other glassmaker in Britain. Tools and techniques available to the glassmaker were used to create the speckles, whorls and stripes characteristic of Monart glass – together with the Stoneware, Paisley Shawl and Cloisonné patterns, unique to Monart at the time. In addition to the large range of vases, bowls and other items, table lamps and ceiling shades became an important part of production. Thirty-four bases and twenty-seven shades, some available in at least three different sizes, were recorded in the “Monart Ware Lighting Pattern Book”. The designs of some of the lamps reflecting Salvador’s earlier training with Schneider as well as the influence of Daum and Gallé.
WWII saw the scale-down of production with this limited to the work the family did in their spare time. In 1946 Salvador and his sons Augustine and Vincent (Antoine having died in 1942 as a result of an accident) left Moncrieff’s to set up their own company, Ysart Brothers Glass based at the Shore Works – better known as Vasart. Paul remained at Moncrieff’s and endeavoured to restart production however post-war Monart glass was made in much smaller numbers. Meanwhile Vasart Glass continued the production of Monart-style glass with Vincent maintaining the family link after the deaths of Salvador in 1955 and Augustine in 1956.
Unlike post-War Vasart that typically carries an acid-etched signature, very few pieces of Monart glass were ever signed. Typically, Vasart reflected the more muted tastes of the 1940s and 50s with softer pastel shades. Vasart Glass was eventually acquired by Strathearn Glass which was subsequently taken over by Stuart Crystal – becoming Stuart Strathearn.