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Peter Smith - Impossimals

1845 Jiangnan, China

Limited Edition Canvas on Board of 95
Image Size 21¼" x 28"
Framed 625

As rare as a Ming vase, the High Tea Hee-Haw, when found, will invariably be in the middle of the tea bushes quietly content testing the dunkability of its recent creations. A creature with only one goal in life - to create the perfect accompaniment to tea, this gentle giant heats water in its chamber-sized body which is then mixed with tea leaves according to taste. No one really knows how the Hee-Haw creates its biscuits, but they are regarded as one of the greatest delicacies in the region. Tea pickers used to sit near this shy beast to benefit from its warmth during inclement periods until an incident involving scolding water and a chocolate digestive in 1799 put the Hee-Haw out of favour.

Now it keeps itself to itself, but is easily spotted out in the open with its giveaway pink picnic blanket and oversized cups and saucers which accompany it everywhere. Charles used this to his advantage as he tracked the creature through the hills for two weeks in the Summer of 1845. Eventually he managed to sneak up on the Hee Haw using a large Bourbon Cream as camouflage. Narrowly avoiding a dunking himself, Charles not only got this incredible painting but also returned with armfuls of biscuits to wondrous applause from Victorian society as the pleasures of sugared dunkable treats were received with open arms. The traditional high tea was born.

Following the expedition to China and in celebration of the High Tea Hee-Haw, several companies including Carrs, Huntley & Palmer, and Crawfords formed in 1850 to produce the new biscuits based on the samples Charles returned with, although no one could fathom out the 'nice' biscuit which was anything but as it systematically collapses when dunked in tea. For such a creature that pursued ultimate dunkability, the inclusion of the word 'nice' on such a sponge of a biscuit unfortunately remains a mystery.


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