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Sigmund Freud statue

A Grade II Listed Building in Wembley, London

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Latitude: 51.5462 / 51°32'46"N

Longitude: -0.1756 / 0°10'32"W

OS Eastings: 526603

OS Northings: 184611

OS Grid: TQ266846

Mapcode National: GBR D1.8DH

Mapcode Global: VHGQR.XD1J

Plus Code: 9C3XGRWF+FQ

Entry Name: Sigmund Freud statue

Listing Date: 19 January 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1431355

Location: Camden, London, NW3

County: London

District: Camden

Electoral Ward/Division: Frognal and Fitzjohns

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Camden

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Holy Trinity Hampstead

Church of England Diocese: London

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Sigmund Freud, bronze statue on a limestone plinth, c1970 by Oscar Nemon, situated at the junction of Fitzjohn's Avenue and Belsize Lane in Hampstead, London.


'Sigmund Freud', bronze statue on a limestone plinth, c1970 by Oscar Nemon, situated at the junction of Fitzjohn's Avenue and Belsize Lane in Hampstead, London.

This over-life size statue depicts Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud is seated, his hands thrust into his waistcoat pockets and his legs slightly splayed. His countenance is stern and his head is turned askew as if deep in thought. The seat is naturalistic, and it rests on a plinth of shelly limestone inscribed ‘SIGMUND FREUD’. The sculpture is situated in the grounds of the Tavistock Clinic in Hampstead, near Freud’s last home in Maresfield Gardens, NW3.


The period after 1945 saw a shift from commemorative sculpture and architectural enrichment to the idea of public sculpture as a primarily aesthetic contribution to the public realm. Sculpture was commissioned for new housing, schools, universities and civic set pieces, with the counties of Hertfordshire, London and Leicestershire and the new towns leading the way in public patronage. Thus public sculpture could be an emblem of civic renewal and social progress. By the late C20 however, patronage was more diverse and included corporate commissions and Arts Council-funded community art. The ideology of enhancing the public realm through art continued, but with divergent means and motivation.

Visual languages ranged from the abstraction of Victor Pasmore and Phillip King to the figurative approach of Elisabeth Frink and Peter Laszlo Peri, via those such as Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth who bridged the abstract/representational divide. The post-war decades are characterised by the exploitation of new – often industrial – materials and techniques including new welding and casting techniques, plastics and concrete, while kinetic sculpture and ‘ready mades’ (using found objects) demonstrate an interest in composite forms.

The sculptor and portraitist Oscar Nemon (1906–85) was born in Osijek, Croatia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). After periods in Vienna and Paris, he obtained a bursary to study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, winning the gold medal for sculpture and his works been shown at the Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Galerie Manteau in that city. Pre-war commissions included the June Victims’ monument for the city of Osijek and portrait busts of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Taking refuge in England immediately before the Nazi invasion of Belgium, Nemon settled in Oxford. Widespread recognition came after Nemon modelled the busts of members of the royal family and created a series of monumental sculptures of Winston Churchill. Later commissions included Dwight D Eisenhower, Viscount Bernard Montgomery, Harold Macmillan and Margaret Thatcher. Nemon’s bronzes of M and Mme Besse are included in the listing of the Hilda Besse building, St Antony’s College Oxford (architects Howell Killick Partridge & Amis, Grade II) and his statue of Churchill and his wife Clementine is situated in the ground of Churchill’s home at Chartwell, Kent (Grade II* on the Register of Parks and Gardens).

Nemon became aware of Freud’s writings during a period spend in Vienna in the mid 1920s. He obtained an introduction to Freud through the Austrian analyst Paul Federn, and in 1931 was invited to a sitting in Vienna on the occasion of Freud’s 75th birthday. Working in short stints between Freud’s own sessions with his patients, Nemon produced a series of portrait heads in wood, bronze and plaster. Freud agreed to a series of further sittings over several years, with a final meeting in London in 1938, resulting in further studies and statuettes of a seated figure, which was intended to form the basis of a full size work to be sited at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

In the 1960s the British child analyst Dr Donald Winnicott established a committee to raise funds to commission a bronze cast of Nemon’s seated figure of Freud. This was unveiled in October 1970 at a location immediately north of Swiss Cottage Library. The sculpture was moved to its present location in 1998 with the collaboration of the Freud Museum, the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, the Anna Freud Centre, the Tavistock Clinic and the London Borough of Camden.

Reasons for Listing

The bronze sculpture of Sigmund Freud of c1970 by Oscar Nemon, situated at the junction of Fitzjohn's Avenue and Belsize Lane in Hampstead, London is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: a public memorial to a figure of international importance, commemorating Freud’s residence in Hampstead and a notably fruitful relationship between artist and sitter;
* Artistic interest: a fine seated portrait in the tradition of civic statuary;
* Sculptor: a major work by Oscar Nemon, an acclaimed C20 portrait sculptor.

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