Furniture Moves Memory

The Journeys of Anna Freud's Alpine Furniture in conjunction with the Austrian Cultural Forum

Nine decorated chests and cupboards of Alpine origin stand in today’s Freud Museum. Anna Freud bought this rustic furniture in 1930 and used it to furnish the country house in the Vienna Woods which she shared with Dorothy Burlingham. When the Freuds fled Vienna in 1938 Dorothy Burlingham sent the furniture to the US. After the war this furniture returned to Europe, to the new summer house that Anna and Dorothy had bought in Walberswick on the east coast of England, and from there back to London, to Maresfield Gardens.

This year this much travelled furniture has formed the starting point for an exhibition at the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art in Vienna, recreated through digital photography in the museum’s permanent display of similar pieces. These images transfer Anna Freud’s furniture back to Vienna, playing with ideas of remembering, place and time. The displays connect the Vienna of then and now with the London of yesterday and today, bringing the present together with the past.

This talk adds another layer to this complex story, bringing the exhibit from Vienna – the recreation of Anna Freud’s furniture – back to London, and reunites the recreated versions with the originals.

The exhibition curator Birgit Johler explores the story of the furniture in Freud’s Dining Room and how she created this extraordinary and innovative exhibition.

She is joined in the discussion by:

  • Anne-Marie Sandler, psychoanalyst, Director of the Anna Freud Centre from 1993 -1996, friend and colleague of Anna Freud
  • Bettina von Zwehl, Artist in residence, Anna Freud project 2013-14, and exhibiting at the Freud Museum June-July 2016
  • Carol Seigel, Director, Freud Museum London


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