Monart at the Perth Museum & Art Gallery

While travelling back down to London from yesterday’s Antiques Roadshow, I was keen to stop off at the Perth Museum & Art Gallery before boarding my plane at Edinburgh. Firstly, I’m helping with an exciting event there next year and wanted to see what it looked like (more about that later!) and, secondly, I knew that there was a superb collection of Monart glass there.
Well, I wasn’t disappointed on either front! The grand and imposing building is smartly laid out in a modern and professional manner with everything from furniture to silver and pictures. Friendly, knowledgeable and approachable staff are happy to help. And there was even a superb Andy Warhol exhibition that I couldn’t resist spending time perusing!
But back to the Monart glass. Three large cabinets contain excellent examples of this extravagantly decorated glass made from 1922 at Perth’s Moncrieff glassworks. Dynamic colours, speckled and mottled effects, and sparkling aventurine dazzle the eyes, with many of the objects on display being both fine and rare. The exhibition is arranged chronologically, with each of the cabinets being devoted to one of the three different phases of the life of the glass, from Monart to Vasart to Strathearn.
Judith Miller, my friend and colleague at Miller’s and on Roadshows, is a long term fan of Monart so accompanied me on the trip. As she knows so much, I’ve never really felt it necessary to find out more for myself, other than learning the basics. So the educational and easy to read signs were particularly helpful and enjoyable for me. Desirability and values for Monart reached a high point during the early 2000s, just after leading expert and collector Ian Turner published his landmark book, and at about the time that he decided to dispose of much of his collection at Christie’s. Since then, prices have sadly adopted a downward trend – which makes it an excellent time to start or build-up a collection.
And if you decide to do that, you couldn’t pick a better year. This year sees the 400th anniversary of Scotland’s glass, and the occasion is being marked with a special weekend of lectures and events to be held from 1st-4th October. Click here to learn more. And if it’s Monart glass in particular that inspires you, then click here to read specialist researcher Frank Andrews’ detailed and full history of the company, the people behind it, and the wonderful glass they made.

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