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Monday, July 10, 2006

Madame Tussauds Wax Gallery

Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London, with branches across different cities of the world. It was set up by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud.

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Madame Tussaud (1761-1850), born Marie Grosholtz in Strasbourg, worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius, a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. In 1765, Curtius made a waxwork of Marie Jean du Barry, Louis XV's mistress. A cast of that mould is the oldest work currently on display. The first exhibition of Curtius' waxworks was shown in 1770, and attracted a large audience. The exhibition moved to the Palais Royal in Paris in 1776. He opened a second location on Boulevard du Temple in 1782, the "Caverne des Grands Voleurs", a precursor to the later Chamber of Horrors.

Tussaud created her first wax figure, of Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, in 1777. Other famous persons she modelled at that time include Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. During the French Revolution she made wax death masks of prominent victims. She would search through corpses to find the decapitated heads of the citizens which the death masks were to depict. When Curtius died in 1794, he left his collection of waxworks to Marie. In 1802, she went to London. As a result of the Franco-English war, she was unable to return to France, so with her collection she travelled throughout Great Britain and Ireland. She established her first permanent exhibition on Baker Street in London in 1835 (on the "Baker Street Bazaar").

One of the main attractions of her museum was the Chamber of Horrors. This part of the exhibition included some victims of the French Revolution and also newly created figures of murderers and other criminals. The name was given by a contributor to Punch in 1845.

Other famous people were added to the exhibition, including Horatio Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott. Some of the sculptures done by Tussaud herself still exist. In 1842, she made a self portrait which is now on display at the entrance of her museum.

The museum moved to its current location on Marylebone Road in 1884. In 1925 a fire destroyed many of the figures, but the moulds survived, allowing the historical waxworks to be remade.

Madame Tussaud's wax museum has now grown to become a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating the London Planetarium in its west wing. It has expanded with branches in Amsterdam, Hong Kong (Victoria Peak), Las Vegas, and New York City. Today's wax figures at Tussauds include historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. Known as "Madame Tussauds" museums (no apostrophe), they are owned by a leisure company called The Tussauds Group.


  1. I think Amitabh Bacchan's there too Aamir, Indira Gandhi
    Thanks for the details. I think Marylebone Road is the same Marylebone Cricket club, MCC

    So I have to kill some big shot to be in the museum.

    Please check these blogs Aamir
    Nancy (terrific page design)

    Lorraine :


    Ruth's Paris blog:

  2. Saw all the pictures Aamir, they are so alive. Not happy with Meryl Streep, perhaps she is not happy too.

  3. Those were amazing... so real!
    Thank you... and thanks so
    much for always visiting my blog.
    I so like having you there!

  4. Amazing wax people...they look very real. I saw the museum in Las Vegas. very cool!

  5. Theres one in Melbourne AUS too and it's really cool :)


  6. Wow Aamir..dat's an amazing wax gallery..They indeed look real..

  7. thanks rauf. Amitabh, Indira Gandhi and others are featured in the london branch. They were not present in the NY branch. They probably have it now as it is already three years since i been there.

    Thanks for the blogs, i visited them. Very creative. Yeah, Meryl looks sad

  8. Hey Margie, thank you. Nice to see a big change in your poetry tending more to the happy side :) Way to go. Your blog attracts me... i will hang around :) Take care

  9. Hi Kathy, yeah, they looked very real. There is another wax museum here in SFO but is not as good as the Tussauds gallery.

  10. Hi keshi, i did not know there was one in melbourne. I "might" be travelling there this december, so hopefully will get to see it.

    Welcome to my blog and hope you keep coming.

  11. Hey G, how are you feeling now? Thanks for your comments.

  12. lovely pics bro; i've been meaning to visit Madame Tussauds; would so the next time we visit London. My personal fav. is Bon Jovi ( ok, i do like him ) cuz it looks so realistic. great work !

  13. ari4u,
    Well that is just how I will
    try to keep my poetry.
    If I happen to slip one in
    there that is is
    just a thought in passing.
    I will even write a happy one
    for you now.
    I will call it:
    I feel so thrillingly
    And filled with vim
    and glee
    It's strange to think
    that once
    There wasn't
    any me!!!!

  14. yeah there's one in Mel..go visit it when ur there.


  15. Hey dude !
    Thanks for the comment on my blog. Do check it out again for my reply.


  16. boo... visit it when you get a chance. The london branch has more celebrities than i saw in NY. The best part is, the statues are accessible to the public, so you could put your arm around them or hug them while posing for a picture :) Bon Jovi is already pale, dont break his bones ;)

  17. Margie, that is good. I like happy poetry and happy stories :)

  18. keshi.. hope you are feeling better now. After reading your post, I was wondering what went wrong. Feeling down? see if taking a break helps.

    The two songs playing in my jukebox are dedicated to you :) Hope you feel better.
    Take care.


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