Small oval dishes used for holding teaspoons emerged in response to the growing fashion for tea-drinking. They mostly date from the first half of the 18th century, when it was habitual to sip tea from a saucer. As this fashion declined, saucers replaced trays as a resting place for teaspoons. Spoon trays with a scalloped rim such as this example exist in some quantity. It is similar in shape to one depicted in the painting ‘A Family of Three at Tea’ by Richard Collins ca.1727 (V&A; P.9&:1-1934) which shows a family seated around a tea table with all the necessary tea- drinking accoutrements fashionable at this date.