set of vessels and implements for making and serving tea and coffee, the items often of matched design. Elaborate 18th-century examples had tea and coffee pots, a milk or cream jug, a pair of tea caddies, a sugar bowl and pair of tongs, teaspoons and a small tray for them, a tea strainer, and cups and saucers. All of these were normally placed on a tray, while an urn or kettle on a separate stand provided hot water. The earliest silver and pottery services to be designed as sets date from the early 18th century, but surviving silver examples dating from before the late 18th century are rare. During the 18th and 19th centuries, services were designed to accompany what had become an important tea-drinking ritual and consequently reached a high degree of artistic refinement.
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