Description: This is a transcript of SD 1705/MS2535 which is a very good description of how the Pattern Book series worked.
Please note: It is assumed that 'C' Series (Earthenware) is recorded in SD 1705/MS2576 [Not yet located: 18/11/2015] and SD 1705/MS2577 [Not yet located: 18/11/2015]. The 'C' Series (Earthenware) pattern books were located in the Engraving Department following the completion of the 1st archive catalogue by cataloguer Archivist Alun Giles Jones. He stated that they be catalogued as part of a future corpus of Minton Additional MSS, it is not known if this cataloguing occured, but if it did they are most likely to be SD 1705/MS2576 [Not yet located: 18/11/2015] and SD 1705/MS2577 [Not yet located: 18/11/2015]. There is also another 'C' Series (Ornamental).
Cataloguer's note: In about 1887, a refurbishing of the existing pattern books took place. Many of the pattern books bear stationer's labels of this date, and the patterns themselves are fragments mounted into the new books. This copy letter from J. E. Hartill to Geoffrey Godden best illustrates the order-scheme, my version of which has necessarily been dictated in this schedule by the location of the various series in the Minton factory.
J.E. Hartill/JLB G. A. Godden, Esq. FRSA (address removed)
22 September 1965
Dear Mr. Godden,
I see that Mr. Henson has answered your question, at the end of your letter of September 7th, about NP numbers, etc. in his of September 17th.
Since his information is not quite complete, and also the information which, I suppose, Mr. Taylor gave you, on pages 118 and 119 of Victorian Porcelain, is not quite complete either, I thought I would give you a complete summary of all our pattern numbers. This covers all the main series, but very often at different times, we would think of starting a small separate series, which, always seemed to fizzle out after a time. The most important of these is the fact that Solon and other pâte-sur-pâte vases were, for some reason, given a separate series of NP numbers and those are recorded in a separate estimate book.
Plain prints without any other colour, which were mostly on Earthenware but very occasionally on China, never seemed to have been given a pattern number, but I think that the print always had a pattern name which was incorporated in the backstamp. All other decorations have numbers. The first series of Minton numbers (with no initial letter) to which you refer on page 118 of Victorian Porcelain, which was followed by the A series, both cover China and Earthenware patterns and it was only when we got to the end of A that we had different letters for different categories.
B numbers are our least expensive China Tableware decorations with a colour edge or no edge. Originally these were practically all enamels but nowadays include lithos.
C numbers were Earthenware Tableware decorations of all kinds except, of course, plain prints.
D was Earthenware and China Toilet, and this was followed by T numbers when D came to an end.
E was Earthenware, ornamental pieces of all kinds.
I have never come across any F numbers.
G were richly decorated expensive China Tableware patterns, practically all of which had a lot of gold on them, but they would include things like expensive free-hand painted patterns, which may have had no gold beside the edge.
H was exactly the same as G and followed it.
I will probably have been missed because of its similarity to the figure one and I cannot remember any J numbers.
K was exactly the same as H and this series was started simply because the now defunct retailer, Davis Collamore, in New York, had to have separate patterns from Tiffany, so rich Davis Collamore patterns were given K numbers.
I have not found a record of an L series.
M was used for Hotel China, which we started in 1931.
In the 1920s it became fashionable for enamels and later for lithos to have a gold edge instead of a coloured edge, and when this happened we gave all these patterns S numbers, if they had a gold edge.
O was China ornamental pieces corresponding with E in Earthenware, except for pâte-sur-pâte. When we got to the end of O, we started again with OA.
This covers all the permanent pattern numbers. B is still used for cheaper patterns with no gold edge. C and E came to an end when we stopped making Earthenware, in 1941. K came to an end with Davis Collamore, and we are still continuing with H, M, OA and S.
Now we come to temporary numbers for new patterns, which were supposed to have been cancelled and given permanent numbers as soon as the pattern sold in any appreciable quantity. NP numbers were used for China and Earthenware Tableware and occasionally for Hotel China, with separate series of numbers, and they covered all decorations which, when sold, became H or S in China, and C in Earthenware - that is everything except rich China decorations.
Richly decorated China Tableware originally had the letter P for new patterns and when we came to the end of P, we started the PA series. When we got to the end of PA, instead of starting with PB, as was obviously intended, we started PA again so that we had two series of PA numbers for a time. Very often, when only a dozen or two plates were sold, they did not bother to give it a permanent number, which was generally H, so the PA numbers went on for years and years. By the time they had reached PA2300 in the second PA series, there was so much confusion between the two series that they dropped it. Even then they did not go on to PB, but started an X series for rich new pattern numbers.
NP and X are still used today for temporary new patterns, but they are given B, S or H numbers as soon as they are sold.
An always, for one reason or another, patterns have occasionally been numbered in the wrong category, but this does not happen nowadays. Any China Tableware pattern which has any more gold on it than a gold edge and line, in now given an H number. This applies to a wide gold band and also to all gold prints. Before this was clearly defined, narrow gold prints were occasionally given S numbers, such an S104, which was a narrow gold laurel border, which we supply to most British Embassies.
This information will be too detailed for your purpose, but I thought that we might as well make it fairly complete so that you can select any information you want from it. Yours sincerely, J. E. Hartill