The Freud Museum


Objects in Mind 1

Maggi Hambling's Self-Portrait at the Freud Museum

Use evidence from the exhibition and the rest of the house to support your answers. It is best to work in small groups if possible.

Study and Hall

(1) Freud collected objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Why do you think he collected so many objects?

(2) Look at the objects in the cabinet at the bottom of the stairs.
Which one do you think was his favourite?
Why did you pick that object in particular?

Dining Room

(3) If Freud was one of the objects in Maggi Hamblings self portrait, what object would he be? And why?

(4) If the opposite of ‘water’ is ‘fire’, what is the opposite of a penguin?

(5) If ‘phobic objects’ condense childhood fears, what do ‘counter-phobic’ objects do? Are there any counter-phobic objects in Maggi Hambling’s self-portrait?

(6) Look at the different kinds of objects on the Objects Timeline.
Which ones most apply to your own life?
Pick one kind of object and say how it is used in a specific example of advertising.

Top landing / Painting

(7) Objects help you remember ... and forget. How?
Find an object in the museum to support your answer.

(8) Objects help ‘stabilise sexual identity’. How?
Find an object in Maggi Hambling’s painting that helps stabilise sexual identity.

(9) Objects can make us feel safe.
Find an object in the Maggi Hambling painting that you think made her feel safe
Why did you choose that object?
What objects made Freud feel safe?

(10) Objects bind groups together.
Find an object on the top table that helps bind groups together.
Are there objects with a similar function in Freud’s collection?

Exhibition Room

(11) Look at the Eamon McCabe portraits. Which one do you think
Freud would have liked the most?

(12) Look at the objects in the Eamon McCabe portraits. Pick three, and say what these objects tell you about the person in the portrait.

(13) What can you say about the sitter’s personality from:
The direction of his gaze
Whether he is sitting or standing
What he is wearing

(14) Look at the Freud at the National Portrait Gallery exhibit in the cabinet. In his letter from London in 1908 Freud says he had an ‘attack of homesickness’. What is ‘homesickness’? What did he do to overcome it?

(15) Freud went to the National Portrait Gallery and took notes on the pictures he saw. Why do you think he did that? What does it tell you about the kind of person he was?

(16) Which portrait do you think he was most interested in?
Which portrait do you think he admired the most?
Which portrait do you think he identified with the most?

(17) From the evidence of his letter home and what you know of his visit, what was the symbolic significance of ‘London’ to Freud? (What did it ‘mean’ to him?)


(18) Freud said that “dreams represent the fulfillment of a wish”

If Freud’s study was a dream, what is the wish you can find fulfilled in it?

Download worksheet here.


This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Find out more about our cookie policy.