Horse Tied to a Tree

Image credit: Glasgow Life Museums

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This small and unusual oil is claustrophobic in its intensity. In a dark woodland setting, a chestnut horse is tethered to a tree. The horse is saddled, but its rider is nowhere in sight. Degas suggests the horse's character – its hind legs are splayed as it pulls to get free, its head held high.

Working from sketches and from memory, Degas captures the essentials of the animal's movement by using a strong outline and giving us few, distracting details. Degas' horses are usually passive, and in comparison to the works by Géricault – 'Trumpeters of the Lancers of the Guard' or 'Prancing Grey Horse' – also in the Burrell Collection, this horse seems passive.

Horse Tied to a Tree




oil on linen


H 22.2 x W 31.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944

Work type


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The Burrell Collection

Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT Scotland

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