The workshop of Virgiliotto Calamelli in Faenza is documented from 1531 until around 1560. The pieces are often inscribed with the initials 'VR AF' or 'AE V' but their significance is not clear and these initials cannot be considered as his personal signature. In any case, works by Leonardo Bettisi (called Don Pino), who took over the workshop after Calamelli's death, continued to use these letters.
Considerable research has been carried out into the Faenza workshop of Virgilioto Calamelli in recent years, and several painters have been identified, citing marked pieces, such as Nicolo da Fano, Pier Paolo di Faenza and Pietro Poalo Stanghi. T. Wilson and D. Thornton, in their Italian Renaissance Ceramics of the British Museum, 2009, no.107, also attribute to the Calamelli workshop a dish in that collection painted by the same unknown hand as the present lot, commenting that this dish and the signed pieces 'demonstrate that the Calamelli Workshop was producing highly coloured istoriato pieces in the Urbino manner'. The British Museum dish was previously attributed to earlier Urbino, C.D.Fortnum even regarding it as "an undoubted work in [Orazio Fontana of Urbino's] best manner".
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