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Leaman is a great admirer of detailed narrative paintings from the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and like those works his own is crammed with meaning and incident, both emotional and spiritual. The title of this painting refers to The Fat and the Lean Kitchen by the Dutch artist Jan Steen, a work which depicts a riotous and debauched domestic gathering painted to warn against the dangers of excess and immorality. Leaman uses his family and friends as models and here has placed them in a kitchen reacting to menacing events. There is also Christian imagery present on the table, from the discarded lily to the spilt red wine. The entire scene is steeped in a yellow light which reinforces its mysterious atmosphere.

August 2004