The Parable of the Leaven (The Parables of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ)
After Sir John Everett Millais British
Engraved and printed by Dalziel Brothers British
Not on view
It took Millais seven years to design twenty images inspired by New Testament Parables for the Dalziel Brothers, and the resulting prints are considered pinnacles of wood engraved illustration. The artist wrote to his publishers, "I can do ordinary drawings as quickly as most men, but these designs can scarcely be regarded in the same light—each Parable I illustrate perhaps a dozen times before I fix [the image]." After completing a design, Millais transferred it to a woodblock coated with "Chinese" white for skilled engravers to carve. Finally, he reviewed proofs, and final adjustments were made before the final printing.
The Parable of the Leaven (Matthew 13:33) is brief: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Pre-Raphaelite ideals shaped Millais's combination of detailed naturalism and down-to-earth imagery to produce a work distinctly different than most religious art of the period.