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The topographical answer is that it was the only known piece of Derby to have been decorated with a contemporary view of the factory.

There had been a retrospective lithograph of the factory produced from memory by the venerable Moses Webster in 1870, but this depiction had been painted by the watercolour artist Robert Brewer in 1815, long before the factory was closed and razed to the ground in the mid-19th century.

Because it was a vista of the factory rear (facing the Nottingham Road) one could speculate that somewhere there is, or was, a ceramic depicting the front of the factory. However, there is no documentary evidence to support this supposition, nor indeed is there any record of the tea service decorated with views of Derbyshire which originally included this cup, for the service only came to light after John Twitchett's comprehensive book on early Derby porcelain had been published in 1987.

The service was found to be in the possession of an American collector and was subsequently dispersed; this tea cup (and its matching saucer) then appeared on the stand of a leading specialist dealer at the London Ceramics Fair, where it sold to a English collector for a price in the region of £3000.

At Neales, the cup and its matching saucer (decorated with a cottage in the village of Breadsall) were subjected to local and international interest, before falling to Hugh Gibson, managing director of the Royal Crown Derby Museum, at a hammer price of £8600 (plus 15 per cent premium).

He will loan his acquisition for a millennial exhibition of Derby Porcelain at the museum next year.