Every city has its little, uncrowded museums offering special pleasures to the initiated. In Paris, there’s the Musée Dapper, with its superb exhibitions of African art, hidden behind a bourgeois apartment house. In London, there are Sir John Soane’s Museum, in Holborn, a marriage of rationalism and idiosyncracy, and the Soane-designed Dulwich Picture Gallery, in the depths of SE 21, a rare combination of marvelous paintings and innovative architecture; each of them is celebrated in its way, but so sparsely visited that I tend to think of them as private treasures. In London, too, I’m partial to the Sigmund Freud Museum: the house where he lived and worked for the last year of his life, a slice of Mitteleuropa transplanted from Vienna to a quiet Hampstead street—library, antiquities, and all, including, of course, the famous desk and couch. What may be the ultimate obscure...

 
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