What Constitutes A Set Of Tableware

Posted by Mike Eley on

To answer this question we first need to understand what "tableware" is. The term "tableware", according to Wikipedia refers to "the dishes or dishware used for setting a table, serving food and dining. It includes cutlery, glassware, serving dishes and other useful items for practical as well as decorative purposes."

Typical place setting

What makes up a full set of tableware, traditionally speaking, will vary depending on the country you are in, your position within society and therefore it's intended function and your associated budget. 

For example, not so many years ago many an English home would not be without a tea set. A statesman would require a large set for entertaining purposes, with 5 or more sizes of plates, 2 or 3 bowls, soup cups, tea and coffee services and a wide variety of serving ware. There would also be accompanying glassware to include various sizes of stemware, tumblers and Collins glasses. Not to mention cutlery for all occasions. A simple labourer's home however, would likely consist or a tankard, plate and bowl for each person.

In modern times, what constitutes a full set of tableware is more about personal choice, although this again will be tied to function and budget, as well as preferences over style and design, as some services offer less choices than others. 

For the purpose of this article I will refer only to the china tableware options as that is what we mostly sell at MrPottery, although you will occasionally find discontinued glassware and cutlery on the site as well. 

The following are examples of the pieces you may typically find in different china services.

Modern Budget Starter Set

  • 4 Dinner Plates
  • 4 Tea Plates
  • 4 Bowls
  • 4 Mugs

Typical Tea Service

  • 6 Tea Cups & Tea Saucers
  • 6 Tea/Bread & Butter Plates
  • Teapot
  • Lidded or Open Sugar Bowl
  • Milk Jug (Approx. 1/2 Pint)
  • Cake/Biscuit Serving Plate

Typical Coffee Service

  • 6 Demitasse (Half Size) Coffee Cans & Coffee Saucers
  • Coffee Pot
  • Open Sugar
  • Creamer (Approx. 1/4 Pint)

Modern Breakfast Service

  • 4 Breakfast Cups & Saucers
  • 4 Breakfast Plates
  • Butter Dish

38 Piece Dinner Service

  • 6 Dinner Plates
  • 6 Salad Plates
  • 6 Tea/Bread & Butter Plates
  • 6 Soup Cups & Saucers
  • 6 Dessert/Fruit Bowls
  • Large Oval Serving Dish 
  • Oval Platter
  • 2 Covered Vegetable Bowl
  • Gravy/Sauce Boat & Stand

85 Piece Dinner Service (10- Piece Place Setting)

  • 8 Dinner Plates
  • 8 Salad/Breakfast Plates
  • 8 Dessert Plates
  • 8 Tea/Bread & Butter Plates
  • 8 Biscuit Plates
  • 8 Soup Cups & Saucers
  • 8 Cereal/Oatmeal Bowls
  • 8 Dessert/Fruit Bowls
  • 8 Tea Cups & Saucers
  • Teapot
  • Covered Sugar
  • Milk Jug (Approx. 1/2 Pint)
  • Cake/Biscuit Serving Plate
  • Large Oval Serving Dish 
  • Large Oval Platter
  • Medium Oval Platter
  • 2 Covered Vegetable Bowl
  • Gravy/Sauce Boat & Stand
  • Salt & Pepper Shakers

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