The principal figures were identified in an engraved key published in 1855 by Leggatt, Haward and Leggatt to accompany the picture. The damned include richly dressed women, notably Herodias's daughter and the whore of Babylon, lawyers and churchmen who have sought only worldly wealth. The saved, at God's right hand, are anonymous figures of virtuous women and innocent children, true lovers, martyrs, philanthropists, and foreground, portraits of the famous. Among the good Martin has included a high percentage of artists and poets, as well as statesmen and philosophers. These include Thomas More, Wesley, Canute, Dante, Washington, Copernicus, Newton, Watt, Chaucer, Tasso, Corneille, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Rubens, D-4rer and Wilkie. The great men are ranged in a timeless tableau; Martin reproduces their best known images. Included among the contemporary detail is a railway train plunging into an abyss, its carriages marked 'London', 'Paris', and so on.
William Feaver, The Art of John Martin, Oxford 1975, pp.188-204, reproduced p.191