Large antique French Sevres ceramic vase by Paul Jean Milet, son of Felix Optat Milet. Featuring ox blood red « sang de bœuf » flambe glaze mottled with hints of green. Decorated with Louis XVI style gilt ormolu mounts, comprising of gadrooned borders at the rim and base, the shoulder festooned with grape and leaf garlands. In good antique condition with general wear commensurate with age and use. Impressive size, the vase stands 13 3/8" height x 5 5/8" at its widest.
Marked with a rare early Paul Milet green mark with "Sevres", double L with fleur-de-lis within, used circa 1895. This mark has been authenticated by Mrs Florence Slitine, curator at the Sèvres National Museum, author of several books. This early mark was used by the young Paul Milet while his father Optat was still alive, until after 1900 when his mark changed to MP Sevres. Paul Milet (1870-1950) was the son of Félix-Optat Milet (1838-1911). The Milets were a true dynasty of potters. The uncle of Paul, Nicolas Ambroise Milet, left his village in Normandy, well-known for its ceramics production since the medieval times, to join the Sèvres Factory in 1852. Highly gifted, he was then made director of the furnaces at Sevres. He called to Sèvres his youngest brother, Felix-Optat Milet. Optat began his career as a modeler for Sèvres in 1862. Despite the fact he was employed by the Sèvres factory, Optat opened his own workshop in 1866 at 6 rue Troyon, near Manufacture Nationale in Sèvres, where he employed up to fifty workers. Optat Milet participated in many exhibitions, where his workshop won recognition and numerous awards including a silver medal in 1884; gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889. His research on colors was celebrated and he worked with other Art Nouveau ceramic artists including Clément Massier (Vallauris), Charles Field (Haviland). Paul Milet entered his father's workshop in 1894 and for the next 36 years produced high-quality ceramics sold through Parisian shops and interior decorators. Because his aesthetic preferences kept pace with the fashions of the era, his early works favoured the floral and whiplash ornamentation associated with the Art Nouveau movement. By comparison, his later work is serene yet streamlined, with simple forms flambe glazed in high-contrast bold jazz-age colors indicative of the Art Deco era.