On April 26, 1928, Madame Tussaud’s wax cabinet was exhibited in London.
In 1761, Marie Grosholz was born in Strasbourg France. She lived with her mother, who worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Phillippe Curtius. Curtius was skilled in wax modeling and used this talent to depict the anatomy. He taught Marie the art of wax modeling, and she became quite skilled, creating wax figures of Rousseau, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklin.
After being arrested for her involvement in the French Revolution, Marie continued her wax modeling in prison, making death masks of victims of the guillotine such as Marie Antoinette, Marat, and Robespierre. Death masks were wax copies of the faces of prominent figures, commonly made to immortalize them after their deaths.
Upon her release from prison, she established her first permanent exhibition. By this time, she had inherited Dr. Curtius’ collection and added it to her own. She had also married Francois Tussaud. Madame Tussaud spent the first three decades or so of the nineteenth century touring the British Isles with her “wax cabinet” and met with increasing popularity. The exhibition’s success in London led her to establish a permanent home for it in Baker Street in 1835, where it rapidly became a major tourist attraction. Today, wax “museums” bearing her name can be found all around the world, including locations in London and New York City. These days, Madame Tussaud’s museums aren’t just home to prominent political figures. A visit to one of the modern houses of wax can bring you face-to-face with celebrities past and present, historical characters, and even superheroes!
A woman who survived and even thrived in a revolution, and grew to become a world-renowned artist? Amazingly cool!