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This image illustrates the parable of the leaven from Matthew’s gospel: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened’. In the background Millais shows a young girl standing in front of the oven holding a loaf of bread. She watches as the woman kneads the dough and mixes in the leaven (yeast).

The skills of the Dalziel brothers’ engravers are demonstrated by the effects of light from the window flooding into the dark interior and casting a shadow on the floor.

July 2008