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Names such as Steele, Bancroft and Hancock are in this ex-Derby group.

Fortunately for collectors, from the 1820's onward, Minton's earthenware and especially `Felspar’ or `Stone China’ are often marked with a transfer-printed backstamp and, later, with impressed year cyphers.

However, the better quality bone china tea, dinner, and dessert wares of the 1820's and '30's typically have only pattern numbers which started again at number one.

Ornamental pieces were usually not marked until the 1840's.

It may also have had better firing characteristics.

The Minton factory was now in full stride, showing the shrewd influence of Thomas's son, Herbert, turning out a vast range of products to meet various market demands.

The middle class market wanted Chinese-type patterns and Minton obliged, right down to a pseudo-seal mark on pattern No.252.

Many patterns in the 19th century followed the earlier Chinese influence and their 18th century English and Continental counterparts. 4994, they were mostly hand-painted at the beginning when only an outline was transfer-printed onto the pieces for the decorators to follow.

He became director in 1834, and by 1840 some 255 different designs were in production; by 1900 the number had risen to 3,500.

It was a considerable commercial investment and the factory naturally borrowed ideas from a wide variety of sources.

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