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Millais and his Pre-Raphaelite associates used drawings to explore fresh ways of designing subject pictures and to break conventions. Changes to Study for ‘Christ in the House of His Parents’ in the area of the bench, for example, show Millais trying out new ideas. As a result he was able to create an image which is at once an everyday scene of the childhood of Jesus and a striking pattern; the family radiate out from the central figure of Christ. This drawing was developed into an oil painting now in the Tate collection.

October 2013