This week I have bought a quantity of linens from the estate of a large house in Northumberland. Not a big country house but a home that enjoyed entertaining and the lady of the house liked to present a well-dressed table for dinner or lunch. So I have acquired a number of sets of table napkins and mats. The reticella lace napkins above are unused and an ideal size for lunch or supper.
These unused Irish linen damask napkins above are a more appropriate size for dinner.
These three pretty sets wopuld set off a spring lunch table very well.
This collection of linen did not include any dining table cloths but did have many place mats and table settings in a variety of styles. So perhaps the family had a beautiful table that they didn't want to hide under a cloth. In that case table mats are a great alternative to a cloth - and they are easier to launder, iron and store!
These green linen place mats with hand embroidery also have a matching large centre mat and could be used with plain green or white napkins.
The crochet lace mat above left is one from a setting for twelve and the Maltese lace mat to the right is from a setting for six.