Freud’s Desk

When I was at the Freud Museum, I bought a book (remaindered) which explains the significance of each of the 65 objects arranged on his desk, which were, as Marina Warner describes them in her preface to The Guide to the Freud Museum, ‘tools of thought, the kitchen utensils of his imagination’.   It’s clear that he was obsessed about the arrangements of the objects on his desk from an early age because he drew a map of his worktable at the Institute of Zoology in Trieste in 1872, describing in a letter to his friend, Eduard Silberstein, how ‘I am one of those human beings who can be found most of the day between new pieces of furniture, one formed vertically, the armchair, and one horizontally, the table, and from these, as social historians are agreed, sprang all civilization…’   In the drawers of the desk, unseen, were his Montblanc fountain pen (the original was stolen) and a clothes peg to hold open his jaw when he wanted to smoke a cigar:-


One thought on “Freud’s Desk

  1. Freud kept more than forty figures in two rows on his desk. In the centre was a small bronze figure of Pallas Athena, less than five inches high. On her breastplate is an image of a decapitated Medusa (decapitation signifying castration. This was Freud’s favourite piece.

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