I purchased this pretty Coalport teacup and saucer trio in Burford, England in 2004. I looked in shops in every little town we visited and finally settled on this trio on the last day of that two-week trip.
Notice the plate is very small and almost the same size of the saucer. When I questioned a gentleman in a china shop about the size of the tea plate he very adamantly told me in his lovely English accent what I already knew because every English hotel and tearoom I have visited uses this small size plate for afternoon tea. He said, "afternoon tea is not meant to be a meal."
We have, in my opinion, "Americanized" afternoon tea into something very much like a meal and tend to substitute it for lunch. I've seen "afternoon tea" served as early as 11:30 am in some American tearooms. And, while I'm on the subject, American scones are too often like cake and sometimes have icing on top! I sometimes wonder what that nice English gentleman would say of that... But, I think I already know. *smile*
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