The narrator of The Visions of the Knight Tondal began his cautionary tale with a prologue: Lord Tondal was young of age and of a very noble house...But he had one thing about him, which I cannot mention without sadness, that he was so confident in his youth, in his good looks, and in his strength, that to the salvation of his soul he never gave a thought....
The miniature at the top of the page represents the first pivotal moment in the story, when Tondal becomes ill at a banquet. The artist, Simon Marmion, set the scene in an upper-class dining hall with a long table, many hovering attendants, and richly attired guests. In the center, Tondal, with his right arm "extended toward a platter of food to help himself," clutches his left hand to his chest. About to collapse, he tells the group that he has had a vision that he is about to die
In this scene, Marmion focused on the descriptive details of a familiar domestic setting and painted the scene with bright, lyrical tones. In contrast, the Hell scenes that follow are more inventive and painted in vivid colors with sharp contrasts.