Monday, 3 August 2015

AT HOME with SIGMUND FREUD


I can't recall exactly which subject it was in highschool, but I remember my first encounter with Freudian concepts when I was about 13. Id, ego, and super-ego --his most square ideas the nuns wouldn't be squirming in their habits while us Catholic school girls were learning of this, and later on, Oedipus Complex, libido, repression, and Freudian slip when I was studying for my preparatory medical studies.

I wanted to be a physician like my father, and either specialise in Psychiatry as my Freudian influence, or Forensic Pathology, because death fascinates me.  I didn't end up a medical practitioner,  but my curiosity for human mental development never ceased. 

The Mr shares that interest and was the one who suggested the Freud Museum (there are at least 50 in London including the major and more well-known ones).  So, off we were one bright Sunday afternoon.






Off Finchley Road, turn left up to Trinity Walk. After roughly a hundred yards,  Maresfield Gardens is at the top. I realise this sounds like a sat nav instruction.



The London postcode I can only dream of


The leafy stretch of Maresfield Gardens 





Be careful of your Freudian slips on your way in


Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychonalysis, lived here from 1938  after fleeing Nazi-annexed Austria, until his death from cancer the following year. His daughter Anna, pioneer of Child Psychoanalysis, lived here from 1938 until 1982.



Going up the Half Landing: my favourite part of 20 Maresfield Gardens


Photography  and filming are not permitted inside the house, so all my photos, except the exterior, were made through my trusty HTC One mobile phone. It was tempting to take more, as some tourists from the Far East did, but I decided against it.  I just concentrated on the Half Landing, which I was drawn to.  I couldn't resist the original Psychoanalysis couch, of course. But that's about it. If you're into antiquities and artefacts, Freud's extensive collection is on display in the front room and his study. His library books cover art, literature, archaeology, philosophy, and the works of Goethe, Shakespeare, Flaubert, Heine, and Anatole France.

In the hall is a glass-fronted cabinet showcasing the overcoat he wore from Vienna to London (men and women at the time were evidently smaller in stature than us as his coat was probably a size 10-12 UK or 6-8 US women's size), his rose gold wedding band in pristine condition, pill box, wedding reception menu, among other personal effects.







Dreamcatchers adorn the classical North London high windows. Good dreams are entangled in the webs, while bad ones pass thru the spaces. I believe this is an installation in reference to Freud's study and book on 'The Interpretation of Dreams'.



At home

Freud's wife Martha and her sister Minna loved spending sunny afternoons here doing needlework and having tea. Winter sun must be glorious in this part of the house. The books belonged to Anna, his daughter, and some of the plants date back from her days.


Freud by Salvador Dali, 1938 (source: Freud Museum Guide)

On The Landing are two portraits of Freud, one of which is by prominent Spanish painter Salvador Dali. The latter met Freud in 1938 and he secretly sketched the neurologist during the brief encounter. 



The original analytic couch from Bergasse 19, Vienna, where Freud's practice was before fleeing to London.  Here, 'free association' was done where patients were encouraged to say everything and anything that came to mind (think of verbal and mental diarrhoea but in a scientific setting), which became the foundation of psychoanalytic therapy.



The spacious garden can be accessed via the conservatory. I can just imagine how much the household enjoyed breezy summer afternoons and balmy nights here.

















In Anna's bedroom is a replica couch where guests are encouraged to do as the signage says. Why not try it at home and tell me what comes to mind first? Censorship not allowed.



20 Maresfield Gardens
London NW3 5SX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7435 2002
Fax: +44 (0)20 7431 5452
Email: info@freud.org.uk








6 comments:

  1. This place looks great. Very intriguing. Would have been interesting to sit on the couch and be evaluated by Freud, no idea what he might have said, ha. Loved this :) Happy week to you lovely xx

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  2. I studied psychology at A-level and covered a lot of aspects in my nutrition degree too so this fascinates me. In fact I can't believe you say there are 50 of these in London. I must make a point of visiting one the next time I'm in the city and I'll have to look out for this NW3 postcode area that you wish to live in. That shot of you in the window (I presume it's you), is stunning - that would be a perfect place to relax doing a favourite pastime.

    By the way, further to your last post, a few days ago I had an email from Amazon asking for my opinion about their packaging of my latest order - I wonder if they saw your post ha ha xx

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    Replies
    1. I meant at least 50 museums in London, but not necessarily this type :) I just prefer smaller museums :) Go on and have and stroll down Hampstead --my dream postcode :)

      Hah! Interseting, they haven't asked me about their packaging! Hah! :) x

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  3. Such an interesting visit! I have always been fascinated by psychology and I would really have enjoyed this place as well.

    LUXESSED

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