I have manage to get in touch with Ian Turner thanks to GMB and PCC member Derek.
The first message is my request to Ian to clarify his view on the topic.
My name is Gary Cantwell and live in Perth and have been collecting Ysart glass for seven years , though mainly Monart. The last 4 years or so I have been doing research on Monart, during that time I have had the pleasure of many visits to Perth museum to view the Monart reserve collection and study the archive material, which I believe you donated most of the material. The catalogues (lighting and shape) are the most important for Monart collectors.
If you have time could you read this topic that I posted GMB and let me know your view on the subject, which would be greatly appreciated. I was not at the Ysart weekend 2005 held in Perth when you discussed who was the main Ysart involved in the design of Monart shapes. http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,44876.0.html
This is Ian's reply in full.
You have been busy!
I have read the GMB messages, but don’t intend to contribute myself to this forum. Monart is history so far as I am concerned, but I can’t escape it altogether because, for better or worse, I suppose I still know more about it than anyone else thanks to my hours of discussion with Paul at his home in Wick, and with his daughter Adele.
In any event, I don’t have a lot to add to the long article published in the Glass Journal Volume 7. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the the lighting catalogue, which was never published, is in Paul’s hand. The line drawings and the annotations are his, and he recorded all the changes to shapes and fittings and the agreement of both John Moncrieff and his wife ‘Mrs John’. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the ‘prototype’ shapes were all blown by Paul. They probably weren’t. It’s possible, especially early on, that Mrs John and Salvador chose both the shapes and colourways, but even in the early years it was Paul who was given the task of recording these shapes in a pattern book. Exactly the same process applied to the Monart Ware shapes. All the drawings in the manuscript shape pattern books – also lodged in the Museum archive - were by Paul, and all the photographs in the published pattern books were taken by Paul. The unpublished catalogue of shapes AI –ZK, reproduced in ‘Ysart Glass’, is entirely in Paul’s hand, and all the photographs, which Paul took, are cut out and stuck on to the shape grid, sometimes overlapping the pencil grid lines. You will probably have noticed that this pattern book, reproduced in ‘Ysart Glass’, is NOT the pattern book which I deposited with Perth Museum in 2005. That pattern book was a copy which Paul made for Betty Reid’s use in the dispatch office. He kept the most up-to-date version. The ‘Ysart Glass’ unpublished pattern book was Paul’s own copy, and I think it is still owned by the family.
One or two other things to bear in mind.
Paul always had the task of shaping every piece of Monart and every lamp pedestal and shade. That was his particular task as a member of the Chair in the Monart shop at Moncrieff’s. Paul told me several times that his father always relied on him to match any piece handed to him by Augy which the other brothers had started off, and he in turn handed the shaped piece on to his father (the gaffer) who decided whether it was of saleable quality or met the requirements of a
special order. This arrangement continued even when Paul stopped speaking to his father after 1932: Augy was the go-between if any message had to be passed between them.
Also, Paul was highly intelligent and articulate, and it is possible that he was given such important responsibilities at a young age because he had many recognised talents. He was a very good photographer and he was creative. It was Paul, not his father, who designed and made all the paperweights which were produced before the Second World War. These were not made as a collaboration with either his father or any of his brothers. Indeed, he kept this skill to himself, and never made paperweights when the others were present. They were all made in the evening when the others had gone home, and the company
tolerated this because they split the profits 50:50 when they were sold. After the war Paul worked in the same way, going back into the factory after his dinner, and he was allowed to sell his share of the weights to whoever he could. He used to sell them in the pubs in Perth – and got into trouble with the Inland Revenue when he ‘forgot’ to declare his income in his tax return - and later he had a special arrangement to supply weights to Paul Jokelson in the States.
Another factor, which I cannot prove one way or another, is Salvador’s poor command of English. Paul mentioned this in passing during one of our conversations, and it may explain why, as the eldest son who had done particularly well at school, he was given so much responsibility as soon as he had served his apprenticeship.
During my writings and lectures on Monart Glass I have never suggested that Paul played a dominant role in the origin of Monart. Clearly his father was a very talented glass blower and had direct experience of working in the French Art Glass industry. It was Salvador who blew the raffle prize vase, and it was Salvador who developed the colour schemes in consultation with Mrs M. In all earlier writings about Monart, many highly inaccurate (viz. Savage) as we now know, the whole credit was given to Salvador. I was trying to redress this in my later writings, and I think my conclusions in 2004 that “...Paul Ysart played a larger role in the early history of Monart production than had been previously suspected”, and that”... Monart production generally almost certainly owed far more to Paul’s genius than has previously been recognised” are right. I stand by both statements without equivocation.
I hope you find these comments helpful, and I have no objection if you want to post them on the GMB.
If you are coming to the June conference we can perhaps continue this discussion there.