Born in Strasbourg in 1761 and
christened Marie Grosholtz Madame Tussaud became
famous for her talent on sculpturing wax. Her
father, a soldier, was killed in battle during
the Seven Years War (waged by Prussia and Britain
against Austria, France and Russia) only two months
before Marie's birth. For the first five years
of her life Marie lived in Berne with her widowed
mother, who worked as housekeeper for Dr Philippe
Curtius — a physician with considerable
skill in modelling anatomical subjects in wax.
Soon, Marie and her mother moved with Doctor Curtius
to Paris; unwittingly, they had entered a creative
and politically fascinating world.
Dr Curtius acted as a tutor to Marie,
schooling her in the techniques of wax portraiture
and casting. She was soon allowed to model the
great figures of the time. Among them were Francois
Voltaire and the American statesman Benjamin Franklin.
Madame Tussaud first showed her
collection of waxworks in Paris in 1770. She later
took death masks from victims of the guillotine
like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She moved
to England in 1802, opening her permanent exhibition
in London in 1835.
For more than 200 years Madame Tussaud's
wax museum has been enchanting and entertaining
visitors fascinated by its representations of
the famous and infamous. Today, over 2 million
people from all over the world visit the exhibition
each year, making it one of Britain's most popular
attractions. It is still the most popular and
talked about wax exhibition in the world, and
has become synonymous with excellence.
The current exhibition shows many
historical and present-day celebrities, including
royal, stars of entertainment and sport, politicians
and statesmen. State-of-the-art technology is
now used to animate some of the exhibits - with
astonishingly lifelike results.
New models are being produced all
the time while have-beens are quietly removed
from display and put into storage. Over the years
hundreds of celebrities have made their way to
Madame Tussaud's 'stage door' to be received in
the private studio where the sculptors makes precise
measurements and photographs the subject's head
from every possible angle.
Indiana Jones wax
model from different angles.
In the Grand Hall someone will find
all manner of celebrities, from Madonna and Michael
Jordan to Pavarotti and Mandela. There, among
others, stands the wax model of Harrison Ford
as Indiana Jones coming out of a temple hidden
in the jungle. The exit of the temple is blocked
by a boulder suggesting the one from the opening
scene of Raiders of the
Lost Ark. Although the wax model of Harrison
Ford looks incredible real the clothes seem like
poor imitations of Indy's garb.