Mentions of Subtleties from George Cavendish's Thomas Wolsey, Late Cardinall, his Lyffe and Deathe.
[The visiting diplomats have been hunting and have returned to Hampton Court for a banquet.]
"Now was all things in a readiness and supper time at hand, My lord's officers caused the trumpets to blow to warn to supper and the said officers went right discreetly in due order and conducted these noble personages from their chambers unto the chamber of presence where they should sup. And they, being there, caused them to sit down their service was brought up in such order and abundance, both costly and full of subtleties, with such a pleasant noise of divers instruments of music, that the Frenchmen, as it seemed, were rapt into an heavenly paradise."
"Ye must understand that my lord was not there nor yet but they being merry and pleasant with their fare, devising and wondering upon the subtleties before the second course, my Lord Cardinal came in among them, booted and spurred, all suddenly and bade them proface; at whose coming they have risen and given place with much joy. Whom my lord commanded to sit still, and keep their rooms; and straightway, being not shifted of his riding apparel, called for a chair, sat himself down in the midst of the table, laughing and being as merry as ever I saw him in all my life. Anon came up second course, with so many dishes, subtleties, and curious devices, which were above a hundred in number, of so goodly proportion and costly, that I suppose the Frenchmen never saw like. The wonder was no less than it was worthy in deed."
"There were castles with images in the same; Paul's church and in steeple, proportion for the quantity as well counterfeited as painter should have painted it upon a cloth or wall. There were beasts, birds, fowls of divers kinds, and personages, most lively made and counterfeit in dishes; some fighting, as it were with swords, some with guns and crossbows, some vaulting and leaping; some dancing with ladies, some in complete harness justing with spears, and with many more devices than I am able with my wit to describe. Among all, one I noted: there was a chess board subtilely made of spiced plate, with men to the same; and for the good proportion, because that Frenchmen be very expert in that play, my lord gave the same to a gentleman of France commanding that a case should be made for the same in all haste, to preserve it from perishing in the conveyance thereof into his country. Then my lord took a bowl of gold which was esteemed of the value of five hundred marks, and filled with hypocras, as whereof there was plenty, putting off his cap, said: ‘I drink to the king my sovereign lord and master, and to the king your master’ and therewith drank a good draught. And when he had done, he desired the Grand Master to pledge him cup and all, the which cup he gave him, and so caused all the other lords and gentlemen in other cups to pledge these two royal princes.”
This passage is on page 70-72. See http://tinyurl.com/pex438xThe work may be found online at a variety of sites, including a 1905