This is Sigmund Freud's porcupine, a bronze figurine the size of a hand, currently on loan to the Wellcome Collection as part of their Sexology exhibition. I visited over the weekend as part of one of my quarterly London trips, which always coincide with a need to get out of Manchester for a long weekend, gallery-binge and catching up with friends; more and more of whom are now living in the Big Smoke. Probably one of my favourite parts of the exhibition, this little porcupine usually sits on the desk in the Freud Museum, alongside the other statues and antiquities, and represents the 'Porcupine dilemma':
"This bronze porcupine was kept on Sigmund Freud’s desk. He thought it represented the prickliness of human relationships. Porcupines crowd together when cold; however their sharp quills cause them to move away from each other when they get too close. This forces them to shift closer and then further apart until a balance of proximity is found. Freud used this to illustrate how people can both benefit from and be harmed by those they are most intimate with."