Marie Tussaud was taught wax modelling by physician Dr. Philippe Curtius, for whom her mother was a housekeeper. She began her own career by sculpting Voltaire in 1777, and refined her skills making death masks of many famous victims of the French Revolution - these were paraded through the streets of Paris as revolutionary flags. She inherited Curtius’s collection of models on his death, and toured Great Britain and Ireland before settling in 1835 and opening her museum on Baker Street, where Madame Tussauds remains.
Today the waxwork museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, with outposts in twenty different cities. Its lifelike figures recreate famous faces from history, pop culture, politics and sport, and each year thousands of tourists flock to take their picture with their favourite movie star, football player, historical figure, or superhero.
… to silver screen
At London’s Madame Tussauds there is a vast range of different figures on display, and the exhibits are kept fresh with frequent updates. Visitors can cosy up to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the ‘Party’ area, as well as Kate Winslet, Dame Helen Mirren and George Clooney. The ‘Film’ exhibit displays your favourite characters from some of cinema’s most iconic movies, including Judi Dench as M and a tuxedoed Daniel Craig as 007.
While many of Tussaud’s original sculptures were destroyed in a 1925 fire, the original casts remained, allowing the models to be recreated: these can be seen in the ‘History’ area. There is also an 1842 self-portrait of Marie Tussaud at the museum’s entrance. Pay your respects to Nelson Mandela, scream at One Direction, or square up to Spiderman and the Hulk, recently augmented by the impressively interactive Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience. Madame Tussauds has fun and photo opportunities for all.