The author, Thomas Meehan, of this 1857 book in which this lovely illustration was found does not seem to refer to it within the text – at least not that I could find. The book was The Spirit Land. The illustration could be Mary being brought to Heaven but I’m not entirely sure that is the case. You see, the text is about how man has strayed from the true teachings and even corrupts his children with fairy tales of mythical beings and confusing imagery.
Too bad within his diatribe he didn’t explain this beautiful drawing. Whomever the young woman is, she stands upon a cloud and appears to be being guided by two winged angels to an even higher plateau in Heaven where another angel awaits her arrival. In the background we see stars, both far and near as well as a small sliver of the moon.
I think it would make a lovely image for Christmas as I do suspect the woman being cared for by the angels is indeed the Virgin Mary – note the halo surrounding her head but not the heads of the angels.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.