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Ysartnews Issue 6 - January 1993
Edited by Mary Houston-Lambert 2002
This is a strongly emotional moment for me, after 6 years to be writing what I know will be the last editorial for the last issue of Ysartnews. Over the years it has been a cause of intense joy and excitement; sometimes the effort threatened to overwhelm me. The newsletters took longer to produce each time. But now as I begin to write this last issue there is a frog in my throat.
The club grew faster and larger than I had ever anticipated and it has been a really wonderful experience meeting many of our members and seeing their collections. We come from many backgrounds and our reasons for collecting the glass produced by this remarkable family are many. But perhaps the greatest joy is knowing that next week we could find something totally unexpected. Not every piece is a beauty and the frustration of the annealing problems can take the edge of some discoveries — but certainly they are all different. The excitement when a collector finds a pair of vases is quickly followed by noticing just how different each of the ‘pair’ usually is.
It is one of my greatest regrets that the club never managed to organise a meeting, but our ninety plus membership spreads around the world and barely a handful lived close enough to meet. The Scottish Glass Society, of which many of the club members have now become members, are currently trying to arrange a private view of the Perth Museum reserve collection.
STATE OF THE MARKET
The recession has certainly affected values, currently down by around 50% since the book was published. On the plus side when above average examples have been appearing in auctions, which they do regularly now, they have often sold for reachable prices. The biggest effect seems to have been a reduction in new collectors and the more established collectors looking to refine rather than expand their collections. However the effects of the book have been rippling around the world and I have had much correspondence from new collectors in the USA, Italy and even South Africa. Pieces with annealing cracks are of little interest to the newer collectors but perfect exceptional examples are becoming almost impossible to find. The future looks good though as the glass has now become firmly established on the collecting scene. Vasart is gaining much ground at the moment and holding its price quite well. Paul Ysart paperweights continue to do well both in Europe and in the USA.
The book has been well received and had some very complimentary reviews. It is unfortunate that it became so expensive, but I was determined that the it be as accurate as possible both textually and in colour reproduction. Watching other expensive books in my collection fall victim to yellowing, the decision to use an acid free paper added further to the cost and finally a small print run forced the final price. The regular discovery of new colour schemes made it hard to reach a point of completion, and in fact one or two others came to light frustratingly just after the final proofs had been accepted. Too late. As it was, the late additions forced the bibliography from the back to the front, giving a slightly unconventional approach. Very few criticisms have been received — mostly about the price but one or two about the layout of the pictures. The sizes of the reproductions on any one page were intended to reflect the original object’s size so that details of decoration were not amplified if a small vase appeared next to a large one. Grouping of the pieces was essentially by decoration and with no reference to chronology. It is now known that Paul Ysart made surface decorated pieces with lustre in the Post War period at Moncrieff’s! So any attempt at chronologising would be inaccurate. Paperweights were reproduced full size and they determined the size and shape of the whole book. Many of the important pieces in the book have now been added to the collections of the Perth Museum and to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove. Apologies are due to William Manson for his mis-spelt name!
The original issues 1 & 2 of our newsletter had an edition of 100, of which the first 20 of issue 1 were printed individually on a very slow computer printer, the remainder being photocopies. Issue 2 was a not very successful attempt at quality printing. The following issues, 3, 4 & 5 were printed to a high standard in an edition of 600 copies with the publishers selling copies to defray costs of over £1 per copy. Issue 6 was once again a limited production of about 150 copies. The summaries of issues 1 and 2 that originally appeared in issue 6 are not included in the web version as the original articles are available here too.
In the history of Monart glass in the first issue it was stated that Salvador had been employed by Baccarat in France. From this information I had assumed that he had learnt the techniques of millefiori and latticino cane decoration there. Mr J Hutton, a retired glass dealer from Berkhampstead called me with some information about Baccarat that eliminates that theory. Baccarat ceased the use of millefiori from 1882 until 1952. The techniques of Millefiori decoration were re-introduced by Baccarat in 1958 interestingly close to Paul Ysarts independence and the growth of the modern paperweight. This would also imply a much greater importance to the introduction of paperweights bt the Ysart family at Moncrieff’s than I had hitherto supposed. And it raises the question of how did Salvador Ysart, and in turn Paul, acquire these skills? Did he learn them in Spain during his early years? Did he perhaps independently rediscover the methods in Scotland? Certainly the development of his glass in Scotland shows him to have been extraordinarily gifted and creative. The experimental cup by Salvador in the Perth Museum collection is dated 1922 and contains some simple Millefiori decoration.
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