For many years, Mithé Espelt's production had always been attributed to Francois Lembo, the Byzantine influenced creator of ceramic icons from Vallauris. Though, to many, it was clear that these pieces were by an entirely different hand to Lembo. In 2020 with the publication of the monograph "Mithé Espelt: the discreet luxury of everyday life" by Antoine Candau, The identification was made, a whole new universe of ceramic delights was unveiled in a beautifully produced catalogue of treasures. Instantly the definitive market for Mithé Espelt’s work was born and launched on its upward trajectory. Overnight, the book found its place as the authoritative work on collecting the magical ceramic world of Mithé Espelt.
The charm of her work lies in the naive implementation of natural, traditional and modern motifs, the intimate sized ceramics were skilfully modelled in clay then painted in edible primary colours and finished off with cracked gold trimmings. The end result is often timeless, highly decorative and masterful design. Her work reflects her experiences in the South of France where she spent her whole life.
In addition to her jewellery, Mithé Espelt created more than five hundred models of mirrors, chests and other everyday objects. The identification of her designs was not possible for the general masses until the publication of Antoine Candau's monograph, published by Odyssée editions just a few days before her death on September 24, 2020. The book reveals a treasure trove of insight and history of Mithé Espelts life and is lavishly illustrated with beautiful photos of her works including sketches from Mithé Espelts original designs and catalogues. There are apparently no catalogues for the creations from the first few years of her production, pieces were made to order, quantities produced varied considerably from one model to another and even from one colour to another. Some models were never commissioned and only samples were created. Others, which have remained in the catalogue for years, were rarely ordered in specific finishes. Mithé Espelt's works are never signed and generally have a felt material most often green, which covers the backs and bases. Her work is very refined in modelling and finish, this is her signature. The colours are vivid and the crackled gold details are expertly executed. The production of each piece required up to eight or nine separate steps and usually four firings. The variation of the colours and the effect of the gold, makes each piece unique. This bespoke process with such attention to detail makes it impossible to find two pieces that are absolutely identical.
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