The Freud Museum

Cigar case

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3091, Cigar case, 20th century

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: French
Material: Metal & copper
Dimensions: 16 x 14.2 x 3 cm

Sigmund Freud's cigar case sat on his desk in his study, to the left of his writing material. This case has a hinged lid with map of France in relief in copper on the top.

The box was possibly a gift from Marie Bonaparte.  Freud had begun smoking when he was twenty-four following the example of his own father who had smoked until his death at eighty-one and he shared his enthusiasm with those around him. When his nephew Harry declined a cigar at age 17, Freud started as if thunderstruck. He paused and then, weighing his words carefully, admonished is nephew: 'My boy, smoking is one of the greatest and cheapest enjoyments in life, and if you decide in advance not to smoke, I can only feel sorry for you.'

Smoking cigars was Freud's primary addiction; he smoked twenty cigars a day. In 1923 Freud was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, leading to sixteen years of treatment and thirty-six operations. Apart from a brief period of abstinence, Freud continued to smoke his cigars. Toward the end of his life, he was only able to smoke by forcing open his teeth with a clothes peg.

With thanks to Ro Spankie for providing additional information. 

See this object on our Collections site here

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