The Freud Museum in London is a hidden jewel and a must-see for both Londoners and international travellers. It was the final home of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, and his daughter Anna Freud, a pioneering child psychoanalyst in her own right. The Freud museum opened in 1986.
The beautiful house, garden and adjacent shop are located at 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX and regularly features interesting exhibitions. Artists who have responded to the Freud museum with remarkable presentations include Sophie Calle, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Wallinger and Susan Hiller.
The Freud family came to England as refugees, having escaped Austria following the Nazi annexation in March 1938. The Freuds were fortunate to be able to bring all their belongings to London including furniture, books, photos all on view in the museum.
The heart of the house is Sigmund Freud’s study and his famous psychoanalytic couch displayed among his collections of antique, Greek and Egyptian sculptures. Freud spent the last year of his life here, and died in his study at Maresfield Gardens.
The house remained the family home until Anna’s death in 1982. Anna bequeathed the house to become a museum.
Multiple references are also made to other members of the Freud family including a remarkable sketching of a Palm Tree by Lucian Freud. Other artworks include a sumptuous and mysterious drawing of Sigmund Freud by non-other than Salvador Dali who was impressed to meet Freud, an introduction facilitated by Stefan Zweig.
Freud’s couch was a present from a patient, a Madame Bevenisti, around 1890. The richly detailed Qashqa’i carpet on top, which Freud himself added, hides a rather plain body, with a rough wooden frame, piled with embroidered cushions. Once covered in the carpet and placed at the centre of Freud’s consulting room the couch gave Freud’s study gravitas and gave his patients a non-medical bed to lie on.
Upcoming is an exhibition on Freud’s relationship with China which will be presented from 12th February to 26th June 2022. Collecting antiquities was one of Sigmund Freud’s greatest passions. Late in life he increasingly began to acquire Chinese pieces, to add to the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects which make up the majority of his collection. Though they were smaller in number, his Chinese pieces were among the most treasured items Freud owned.