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Madam Tussauds: Wax museum established by Anna Maria Grosholtz


Marie Tussaud was a renowned French wax-modeling artist and one of the nineteenth century\’s most successful career women. She established the famed Madam Tussauds wax museum in London. Madame Tussauds is a prominent tourist attraction in numerous cities, where waxworks of famous and historical persons, as well as popular film and television characters, are displayed.

In Strasbourg, a city between Germany and France, Anna Maria Grosholtz was born on December 1, 1761. Before she was born, her German soldier father Joseph Grosholtz was killed in action during the \”Seven Years War.\” She was brought to Bern, Switzerland, by her mother Anne Marie Walder, where Anne worked as a servant for doctor Philippe Curtius. At the age of 16, Marie created her first sculpture under the guidance of her mother\’s boss, Dr. Philippe Curtius, who made wax models to demonstrate anatomy. Marie’s first model was the famed French Enlightenment Writer Francois Voltaire. Her talent and expertise acquainted her with the Royal Family of France as an art tutor.


Marie was introduced to Madame Elisabeth, sister of King Louis XVI when she stopped by Curtius\’ Cabinet de Cire in 1781. The princess was so inspired by the models she saw that she decided to give modeling a try herself and hired Marie, who was 20 at the time, as her instructor. Tussaud cohabitated and worked at Versailles and Montreuil for the following eight years with the princess. Marie was a mature and skilled wax artist by the spring of 1789 when she was 28 years old, and Curtius advised her to quit court and go back to Paris.


She went through the horrific horrors of the \”French Revolution\” at that time. After being imprisoned during the revolution, she was forced to create death masks for the royal family, the King, and his Queen in order to prove her commitment to the movement. She had to make casts out of the heads that had been cut off at the guillotine. She travelled to England with her wax figures after the revolution. She then began travelling Britain, where her work was noticed and admired. Her first permanent exhibition was on display at Baker Street, and for 33 years she exhibited her models all throughout the British Isles. Later, she established a prosperous permanent museum on London\’s Baker Street. A guillotine blade that was a gift from the executioner Sanson himself, as well as items connected to Napoleon, were among the historical artefacts on display at Madame Tussaud\’s in addition to the waxworks. To showcase the blood and guts of the French Revolution, the Chamber of Horrors was specially created. Figurines of well-known people were produced by Marie Tussauds to increase the scope of her collection.


Madame Tussaud passed away in 1850, having left her sons complete ownership and management of the waxworks. It has been passed down through the family and continues to be a lucrative business today. In order to boost visitors\’ enjoyment, the exhibitors at Madame Tussaud consistently combine scenes of historical relevance with scenarios depicting horrific crimes and penalties.



  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Tussaud
  2. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-10-best-booths-art-basel-miami-beach-2022
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/04/madame-tussaud-edward-carey-little

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