16.04.

1850: Marie Tussaud – the Famous Wax Sculptor

1850: Marie Tussaud – the Famous Wax Sculptor
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 16 April 1850
  • There are still some waxworks which Marie Tussaud personally made. Some models look like the people who lived two hundred years ago.

Marie Tussaud, the famous wax sculptor, died on this day in 1850.

There are many wax museums named after her in world cities, and they are a kind of tourist attraction. It is interesting to note that Marie Tussaud belonged to the generation of people born before the French Revolution. She was born in 1761, which means that she was a peer of Mozart’s wife Constanze Weber. Revolutionary Maximilien de Robespierre was about three years older than Marie Tussaud.

Although born and raised in France, Marie Tussaud was of German origin (she was born in Strasbourg, which is located close to the border with Germany). Her surname was Grosholtz, but she changed it when she married Francois Tussaud in 1795.

Madame Tussaud at the age of 42
Madame Tussaud at the age of 42

It seems that Marie started making waxworks when she was working with a doctor (wax models were made due to the development of anatomy). Wax figures of famous celebrities were made in the 18th century.

Marie had made a series of waxworks of famous people (Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin) before the start of the French Revolution. At the time of revolutionary terror, she was arrested and almost executed on the guillotine. She moved to London, where eventually became famous for her exhibition of wax figures which was opened on Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes also “lived” there.

Marie Tussaud died at the age of 88. There are still some waxworks which Marie Tussaud personally made. Some models look like the people who lived two hundred years ago. The Madame Tussauds Wax Museums are located around the world, from Las Vegas to Sydney (the wax exhibitions are also organized in Amsterdam, Berlin, Blackpool, London, Prague, and Vienna).

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