When I was a girl, we had the “good” china and the “everyday” dishes. The good china was kept in the breakfront and brought out on holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. It was not allowed to be washed in the dish washer as it was painted ornately, had gold trim, and was far too delicate. We had the same set as far back as I can remember. One of my children now has it but I’ve never seen it used. Times change, gratefully, and now we typically use the same set all the time, with special serving pieces perhaps or fancy tablecloth and napkins.
In late 19th century through mid-20th century, porcelain dishes were made all over the world in a myriad of designs, shapes, and sizes. The more ornate and more specialized, the better. The Victorians invented new serving dishes and tableware: spoon rests, egg cups, asparagus plates, celery dishes, large tureens. An important household had storage rooms overfilled with table settings. Some of these have survived and make interesting displays and play the role of the special serving piece on special occasions.
Update: toast rack has been sold.