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Madame Tussaud was an actual person.

She was born Marie Grosholtz in Strassbourg, France on December 1, 1761. Her father got killed in the seven years war two months before she was born.

Her mother, Anne Made, took her to Berne where she moved to work as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius (1741-1794). There she took the Swiss nationality. Curtius was a physician, and was skilled in wax modelling, which he used to illustrate anatomy. Later, he started to do portraits. Tussaud called him uncle. Curtius moved to Paris in 1765, starting work to set up a wax figure cabinet. In that year he made a waxwork of Marie Jean du Barry, Louis XV's mistress. In 1767, Tussaud and her mother joined Curtius and also moved to Paris. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. She started to work for him and showed a lot of talent. She created her first wax figure, of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in 1778. Other famous persons she modelled at that time include Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin.

In Paris, Tussaud became involved in the French Revolution. She met many of its important figures, including Napoleon and Robespierre. On the other hand, she was also on very good terms with the royalty. In particular, from 1780 up to the revolution in 1789, she taught art to the sister of Louis XVI. In fact, they were so pleased with her that, on their invitation, she lived at Versailles.

However, Tussaud was arrested by the revolution on suspicion of royalist sympathies. In prison, she awaited execution by guillotine together with Joséphine de Beauharnais (the first wife of Napoleon). Even though Tussaud's head was already shaven for her execution, she was saved for her talent in wax work and employed to make death masks of the victims of the guillotine, some of whom had been her friends. Among others, she made death masks of Marie Antoinette... (one of her most famous work ever which is still to be seen today in Madame Tussaud's wax museum in New York)

In 1795, she married François Tussaud. She established her first permanent exhibition in Baker Street in 1835 (on the "Baker Street Bazaar"). In 1838, she wrote her memoirs. In 1842, she made a self portrait which is now on display at the entrance of her museum. Some of the sculptures done by Tussaud herself still exist.

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Related questions

What has the author John Theodore Tussaud written?

John Theodore Tussaud has written: 'The Romance of Madame Tussaud's' -- subject(s): Madame Tussaud's

Can I record video in Madame Tussaud's?

Yes, you can record video in Madame Tussaud's.

When was Midnight at Madame Tussaud's created?

Midnight at Madame Tussaud's was created in 1936.

What is the duration of Midnight at Madame Tussaud's?

The duration of Midnight at Madame Tussaud's is 1.05 hours.

When did Marie Tussaud set up Madame Tussaud's?

In 1834.

Who was the first wax sculptor to set up a museum in London?

In 1835 Madame Tussaud established her first permanent exhibition in London's Baker Street.

What is found in madame tussaud's famous museum?

Madame Tussaud's displays wax statues of famous (and infamous) people.

Is there a waxwork of My Chemical Romance at Madame Tussaud's?


What celebrity's birthday is on December 1?

Madame Tussaud

Which city does not have a Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum?

Paris, France

How long to go round Madame Tussaud's?

About 2 hours

When did madame tussaud die?

Marie Tussaud died on April 16, 1850 at the age of 88.