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The parable of the lost sheep, told in Luke’s gospel, describes a shepherd who looks after a flock of a hundred sheep. As he counts them one night, he discovers that one is missing and goes out to look for it. Millais shows the shepherd having successfully found the stray sheep, which rests on his shoulders.

The parable concludes when the shepherd returns home and ‘calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost’.

November 2004