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Paul Ysart was born in Barcelona, Spain in June of 1904 to a glassblowing family. He died on December 18, 1992. Paul’s grandfather, his father Salvador, and his three younger brothers Vincent, Augustine and Antoine were all part of this trade. In 1909 Salvador Ysart moved to France to find a job in a glassworks there. Then, in 1914, he took his family to Scotland, seeking their safety when World War I broke out.
Salvador and his son Paul went to work in Perth, Scotland at John Moncrieff Ltd. in 1922. By 1937 Paul’s three brothers had also joined the firm and they were blowing art glass which was marketed under the trade name, Monart. The family also made some paperweights during this period. Paul had started learning to work with glass as his father’s servitor at the age of thirteen, in 1917, at the Edinburgh and Leith Flint Glass Works, before working with him at Moncrieff. When the rest of his family left Moncrieff after World War II Paul continued working there. In 1963 Paul took a job as a training officer at Caithness Glass Ltd., where he worked through 1970. Though other family members made paperweights in the 1930s, it was Paul who was the artist. Really fine weights had not been made in Europe for decades and Paul basically reinvented the art form there, at the same time Charles Kaziun was doing the same thing in the United States. Ysart was the pioneer who blazed a trail numerous other Scottish glassmakers have followed.
Ysart made a good variety of millefiori and lampwork designs. Paperweights made for sale in the United States were signed with a cane reading PY. Weights sold elsewhere were not signed or were signed with an H cane for Harland.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.