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  • Writer's pictureWormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

Lucian Freud and the Pony Centre

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

The Pony Centre has a rich history in art. As such Lucian Freud was the artist in residence at the centre and drew inspiration for his works from the Ponies.



Lucian Freud and Releef with the Portrait


Many years ago an artist paid a visit to the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in the search to paint an Arabian horse. He found the horse and a few days later the portrait commenced.

The horse was Releef and the artist was Lucian Freud.

Lucian has sadly died but over those months and years we at the Centre looked forward to his regular visits.

The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in its humble location in West London will always be proud & feel very privileged that the most famous artist in the world chose to come to our Centre and fell in love with some of our very special horses.

Following the completion of the portrait of Releef, Lucian felt the desire to paint more equines. He walked the yard, meeting each individual horse trying to find his right model. After a great deal of searching which took several days he decided that Sioux was his choice.

Following this choice the world famous painting of her hind quarters was commenced. Lucian would arrive in the mornings and paint for several hours. Sioux was the ideal model, she stood still when required. She was always ready to make a fuss of Lucian especially when he produced out of his pocket the special carrots. Sioux learnt to trust him and was never spooked by his easel and various other unusual items in her stable.

Lucian's soft voice saying 'Come on then' still echos within the walls of her stable.

On completion of the painting known as 'Lucian Freud Skewbald Mare' he decided to paint another, this time showing the whole of her left hand side.

The first painting of Sioux now hangs in a prime position in Chatsworth House. With the painting there is also a reference made to the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre.

Hence Sioux and Releef have now been made world famous and their portraits will hang on famous walls for prosperity. During this time at the Pony Centre the artist now in his eighties used to ride his favourite horse Sioux.


Lucian with Sioux

Following the death of Lucian Freud, Sioux was given the honour of leading the funeral party to the artist's graveside.

Sioux is now no longer with us but we who knew her and loved her have in our hearts the memory of a very incredible and special horse. Her image is on the canvases of a world famous artist for generations to view in the future.



The charity was donated a sketch by Lucian Freud which they auctioned off in 2019 in lieu of their 30 year anniversary.



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