A Banquet of Sweet-meats is said to be dress'd upon a Level, when disposed of upon China-dishes, and Machines made of Wood, or Osier-twigs, having a great Board in the middle, in form of a Square, or Hexagon, … or else it may be fill'd with altogether with China-dishes; that in the middle being rais'd higher than the others; upon which several small Pyramids are to be erected, of an exact Proportion; so that the same sorts of Comfits, and the same Colours may appear on every side, at the opposite Angles. Lastly, a Row or Border of raw Fruits may be made round about the Dishes, upon every Board to garnish the top, and the whole Dessert is to be set out with Flowers, Greens, and other Ornaments, according to the Season.
I am getting ready for next year's Ladies' Tea at rendezvous [ONWPR & EPR], acquiring China-dishes [import porcelain or local faïence in imitation of] and trying out recettes for sweet-meats.
Image Source & Text: The Court & Country Cook, François Massialot, 1702, p. 125-130.
As an aside: Notice the folds in the tablecloth--these are the result of either being folded in a clothes press or having been ironed in .
Caterers still make use of this idea for our luxury tables at very special events.
Image Source: http://www.southboundbride.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/002-brunch-wedding-ideas.jpg