The Freud Museum

Figurine of Osiris with attendant

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3132, Figurine of Osiris with attendant, Egyptian Late Period; 715 BC - 332 BC

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Egyptian
Material: Basalt & marble
Dimensions: 29 x 4.4 x 11 cm

This figurine of Osiris with attendant has a hieroglyph inscription on the backrest with the name of the donor Padiwesir and the name of the reigning King Psammetichus I (26th Dynasty, c.600BC).

X-rays have shown this sculpture has been created using two different statuettes. The head of Osiris is not original and has been fitted to the front torso with a metal pin. Like the Romans who copied the masterpieces of Greek art, Freud seemed content with the idea of owning a copy.  However, he valued authenticity and strived to rid himself of fakes and forgeries. Antique dealer Robert Lustig recalled that when Freud discovered a fake, he would not keep it.

This figure of Osiris was described by Demel as ‘ausgezeichnete arbeit’ (‘excellent work’). This does not necessarily imply that Demel was dishonest about the authenticity of the piece, but rather suggests that the authentication process in the early 20th century was less accurate than today. Freud was, it should be stressed, an amateur collector, who was in possession of several fakes and forgeries, which have only come to light recently. 

Freud occasionally mentions acquisitions in his diary. His entry for 3 March 1936 reads: ‘Osiris group from Alex’, indicating the figure was a gift from his younger brother Alexander.


Additional information from Ro Spankie 'An Anecdoted Topography of Sigmund Freud's Desk', 2014

See this object on our Collections site here

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