Royal feast

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  • Intro

    Tables at royal feasts were decked with spectacular dishes - enabling the host to show off his wealth. Animals such as peacocks, seals, porpoises and even whales accompanied jellies and custards which were dyed with vivid natural colourings - sandalwood for red, saffron for a fiery yellow, and boiled blood for black. But the most visually alluring pieces at the table were special sugar sculptures known as sotiltees (or subtleties). These came in all sorts of curious forms - castles, ships, famous philosophers, or scenes from fables. This image from an illuminated manuscript shows a royal feast for King Richard II who had ruled in the previous century (1367-1400). 

    Shelfmark: Royal 14 E. IV, f.265v

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