Spotlight on the Archives: Lucie Freud

Sigmund and Anna Freud's archives are large, but there are many other figures in the archives too.

The recent re-cataloguing of the Freud Museum London archives has shone a spotlight on a number of lesser-known figures. Here we explore Lucie Freud and the collection she left to the Museum.

Portrait photograph of Lucie and Ernst Freud, 1920 [IN/0274]

Lucie Brasch was born in 1896 in Berlin, the daughter of wealthy merchant Joseph Brasch and his wife Elise. She studied classical philology and art history in Munich, where she met Ernst Freud. Ernst was the youngest son of Sigmund Freud, and a student at Adolf Loos’s architecture school. The couple married on 18 May 1920 and began their life together in Berlin.

Sigmund and Lucie Freud, c.1923 [IN/1062]

Ernst established a thriving architecture practice in Berlin, focused mainly on domestic architecture. Lucie had three sons with Ernst: Stephen Gabriel Freud (b. 1921), Lucian Freud, named for his mother, (b. 1922) and Clement Freud (b. 1924). After Hitler was named Chancellor in 1933, the family left Germany for a new life in London.

They settled in St John’s Wood and Ernst continued his practice, designing bourgeois homes in the modern style. Ernst, Lucie and their three sons became naturalised British subjects in 1939. In the same year, Lucian began to study art, briefly at Central School of Art in London before enrolling at the East Anglican School of Painting and Drawing in Dedham. Stephen studied history at Cambridge and after Clement had finished school he became an apprentice in the kitchens of the Dorchester Hotel. After the outbreak of the Second World War, all three of Lucie’s sons joined up, with Stephen serving in Italy, Lucian enlisting in the merchant navy, and Clement joining the ranks of the Royal Ulster Rifles.

Lucie lived a largely peaceful life at her homes in London and Walberswick, on the Suffolk coast. Their holiday home there, nicknamed Hidden House, was bought in the 1930s in an effort to replace their former holiday cottage in Hiddensee, Germany. She was a keen letter-writer and was close to her family, amassing a large amount of correspondence.

Lucie died in London in 1989 and is buried with her husband Ernst, who died in 1970, in Golders Green crematorium in London.

Photograph of Lucie Freud with her three sons, Stephen Gabriel, Clement and Lucian, c.1930 [LF/08/007]

Lucie Freud left a collection of letters and documents to the Freud Museum, which constitutes the Lucie Freud Papers.

Much of the archive is made of family letters, particularly between Lucie and her husband and sons. Most of the letters from her sons are from their childhood: letters sent home from school with descriptions of games and outings, sometimes complete with drawings.

There is also correspondence from Max Eitingon (1881 – 1943), the German doctor and psychoanalyst who was director of the Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag. A collection of papers and letters between Ernst Freud and James Strachey largely concern the translations and publication of the Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, a huge undertaking of which Strachey was translator and editor.

Ernst and Lucie Freud taken on holiday in Hiddensee, Germany, 1928 [IN/0961]

The full Lucie Freud archive is divided into the following series: LF/01 Correspondence between Lucie and Ernst L Freud; LF/02 Letters from Stephen Gabriel Freud, Lucian Freud and Clemens Freud; LF/03 Other correspondence; LF/04 Correspondence of Lucie and Ernst Freud with Felix Augenfeld; LF/05 Correspondence with Max and Mirra Eitingon and others; LF/06 Correspondence between Ernst Freud and James Strachey; LF/07 Additional family correspondence; and LF/08 Photographs.

In donating this collection to the Freud Museum London, Lucie Freud improved the collection’s overall understanding of the Freud family, particularly Freud’s grandchildren, and provided insight into Freud’s famous ‘Standard Edition’, as well as providing a wonderful collection of family photographs.

Letters from Lucian Freud to his mother and father [LF/02/019 and LF/02/020]

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