Sarah Giles


the space where something was

Tea and cake

Oil on hinged panel, 2 panels each 10cm wide x 15cm tall.

This piece is painted on two portrait panels that are hinged vertically. The image is split across the panels. The scene is softly lit from the left.

The picture is of a table, covered with a white cloth, set for "tea". The table top covers the lower two thirds of the image. The upper third shows the wall behind the table. There are a number of items on the table, but they are all set back a little. The lower half of the table cloth is empty.

On the left panel, nearest us and equidistant from us, are two tea-cups. They are not fine china, but rather a heavier grey/brown set. Their handles point to the right of the image. Both contain quite strong tea, filled a little short of the brim. The cups cast shadows on the saucers.

Still on the left panel, further back on the table, is a plain, round, white plate upon which are two cakes. Neither cake as been cut. The one nearest to us is an Angel cake; yellow, pink and white cake stuck together with a cream filling. We can see one end, the front and the top of this cake. It obscures the second cake, a Battenburg, of which we can see only the top, end and a little of the front.

To the right of this plate, the same distance back on to the table, is a teapot. It is painted across the join between the two panels. The spout is on the left panel, the remainder on the right panel. It is very pale yellow, round and doesn't match the teacups.

On the right panel, the same distance back as the tea-cups, and in line with them, is another plain, round, white plate. On it is an uncut Victoria sponge cake. A little further back and to the right is the small plate with a knife resting across it. The plate seems to match the teacups. The knife points to the 4 o'clock position and is apparently unused.

Beyond the table, occupying the top third of the image, is a boldly patterned wall. The background is lilac printed with alternate white then floral circles. The floral prints are red. The white circles have small red flowers in the middle of them.

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