Calamelli Foot by Virgiliotto Calamelli

This foot shaped ornament comes from one of the most important ceramic workshops in Faenza, near Bologna.


Tin-glazed ceramic (maiolica)
19.2 x 7.3 x 9.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£5,000 ( Total: £12,000)
Acquired in:
Rainer Zietz

Its form is copied from ancient Roman lamps made in bronze and ceramic. These ancient prototypes had high status with Renaissance collectors and were copied as lamps and inkwells in both bronze and ceramic in the 16th Century. Containers in the forms of shoes or boots seemed to have had various functions: as inkwells for the scholar’s study, or as novelty drinking or dining vessels for use at wedding feasts. It is the first sculptural moulded piece from the Calamelli workshop to enter the British Museum collection.


?Belgian dealer; Asioli Martini (Italy); Enrico Cavaglia, by 1999; German collector; Rainer Zietz, 2009. The work has been vetted by the Art Loss Register and Metropolitan Police.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8181

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