A Dish of Tea
“Dish” throughout the eighteenth century was a colloquialism for cup. In fashionable houses at first, and for long, tea was drunk from a cup without a handle brought from China. The vessel was termed a “dish.” When the Chinese cup was first copied by English potters, the convenience of a handle was added.
The deep saucer from a beautiful Samuel Alcock “True Trio” — A true trio is two different shaped, porcelain cups (one for coffee and one for tea) and one matching saucer, circa 1840s. True trios were sold in this manner, as a consumer would conceivably need only need one saucer, as the coffee and tea would not be drunk simultaneously.
The saucer also was brought from China. It received the name because of its resemblance to the English saucer, a platter in which sauce was served. The familiar gibe, “saucer eyes,” was originally inspired by the sauce saucer, long before Lord Arlington gave the first “tea party” in England in Arlington House, where Buckingham Palace stands, at the Restoration period. — London Chronicle, 1913
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