The Dining Room
The Conservatory, now housing the shop
The study and library were preserved by Anna Freud after her father's death. The bookshelf behind Freud's desk contains some of his favourite authors: not only Goethe and Shakespeare but also Heine, Multatuli and Anatole France. Freud acknowledged that poets and philosophers had gained insights into the unconscious which psychoanalysis sought to explain systematically. In addition to the books, the library contains various pictures hung as Freud arranged them; these include 'Oedipus and the Riddle of the Sphinx' and 'The Lesson of Dr Charcot' plus photographs of Martha Freud, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Yvette Guilbert, Marie Bonaparte, and Ernst von Fleischl.
The room contains the original analytic couch brought from Berggasse 19 on which patients would recline comfortably while Freud, out of sight in the green tub chair, listened to their 'free association.' They were asked to say everything that came to mind without consciously sifting or selecting information. This method became a foundation upon which psychoanalysis was built.
The Study is also filled with antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Orient. Freud visited many archaeological sites (though not Egypt) but most of the collection was acquired from dealers in Vienna. He confessed that his passion for collecting was second in intensity only to his addiction to cigars. Yet the importance of the collection is also evident in Freud's use of archaeology as a metaphor for psychoanalysis. One example of this is Freud's explanation to a patient that conscious material 'wears away' while what is unconscious is relatively unchanging: "I illustrated my remarks by pointing to the antique objects about my room. They were, in fact, I said, only objects found in a tomb, and their burial had been their preservation."
Circumstances prevented Freud from bringing all his books from Vienna but the library at 20 Maresfield Gardens contains those he chose to bring with him. The library includes a wide range of subjects: art, literature, archaeology, philosophy and history as well as psychology, medicine and psychoanalysis.
Next to the Study is the Dining Room containing painted Austrian country furniture which came from Anna Freud's and Dorothy Burlingham's country cottage at Hochrotherd in Austria. Also in the room is a souvenir painting of the alpine region where Freud usually spent his holidays, walking in the countryside he loved.
The adjacent Conservatory at the rear of the building was originally an open loggia; it looks out onto the garden and was designed by Freud's architect son, Ernst. This is now the location of the museum shop.
Anna Freud Room
The Anna Freud Room depicts aspects of her work and character; the room contains some furniture from her study (including her analytic couch) and a loom from her bedroom. Anna Freud was a keen weaver and a knitting enthusiast, this latter activity being one which she practiced during analyses of patients. She was born in 1895, the sixth and youngest child of Sigmund and Martha Freud. In 1914 she began training as a primary school teacher but in 1918 she also began training as a lay psychoanalyst receiving analysis from her father.
However, Anna Freud's short teaching career provided a basis for her pioneering work in the field of child psychology: her Introduction to the Technique of Child Analysis was published in 1927 and her influential The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence appeared in 1936. From 1923 onwards she also became her father's secretary and ambassador.
An exhibition in the room illustrates some aspects of Anna Freud's life and work both in Vienna and in London, where she was assisted by Dorothy Burlingham, an analyst who lived at 20 Maresfield Gardens until her death in 1979.
Click here for more information on Anna Freud.
The Landing features two portraits of Sigmund Freud, one by Ferdinand Schmutzer, the other by Salvador Dali. Schmutzer's drawing was made in 1926. Freud praised the portrait, writing in a letter of thanks to Schmutzer that "it gives me great pleasure and I should really thank you for the trouble you have taken in reproducing my ugly face, and I repeat my assurance that only now do I feel myself preserved for posterity."
The Salvador Dali drawing was made in 1938. Stefan Zweig introduced the surrealist artist to Freud on 19 July when Freud was living in 39 Elsworthy Road. During the encounter Dali executed a sketch surreptitiously and later made the pen and ink drawing. Neither the sketch nor the drawing were shown to Freud because Zweig felt they conveyed Freud's imminent death.
Also on this floor is the temporary exhibition room which hosts alternate contemporary art and Freud themed exhibitions. Art installations often use several rooms within the museum, such as Uli Eigne’s stunning exhibition A Visit to Freud’s. Please click here for details of past and forthcoming exhibitions.
In this room, visitors can view rare footage of the Freuds enjoying themselves with their friends, relatives and beloved pets. A copy of this video is available in the museum shop.
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Couch
Freud's couch, upon which his patients would comfortably recline during psychoanalytic sessions, was normally covered by an Oriental rug throw.
Underneath the throw, it is a plain and simple structure, raised by a scroll and pad at one end, though fully upholstered with springs and horsehair stuffing.
The couch is rather short, so that the patient would not lie horizontally, but with the head quite high, supported by several cushions and pillows.
According to Freud's wife Martha, in an interview with Princess Marie Bonaparte in 1938, the couch was given to Freud by a grateful patient, a Madame Benvenisti, in about 1890.