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Marie Tussaud Edit Profile

artist , founder

Anna Maria "Marie" Tussaud was a French artist known for her wax sculptures and Madame Tussauds, the wax museum she founded in London.


Marie Tussaud was born 1 December 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her father, Joseph Grosholtz, was killed in the Seven Years' War just two months before Marie was born. At the age of six her mother, Anne-Marie Walder, took her to Bern, in Switzerland. There the family moved into the home of local doctor Philippe Curtius (1741–1794), for whom Anne-Marie acted as housekeeper.


She learned the art of wax modeling from Philippe Curtius, whose two celebrated wax museums she inherited upon his death in 1794.


From 1780 until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, she served as art tutor at Versailles to Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Élisabeth, and she was later imprisoned as a royalist. According to her memoirs, during the Reign of Terror she had the gruesome responsibility of making death masks from heads - frequently those of her friends - freshly severed by the guillotine.

e toured the British Isles for 33 years before finally establishing a permanent home in Baker Street, London, where she worked until eight years before her death. (In 1884 Madame Tussaud’s moved to the Marylebone Road, London. )

Madame Tussaud’s museum is topical as well as historical and includes both the famous and the infamous. Notorious characters and the relics of famous crimes are segregated in the “Chamber of Horrors, ” a name coined jokingly by a contributor to Punch in 1845. Many of the original models made by Marie Tussaud of her great contemporaries, including Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Horatio Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott, are still preserved.


  • Madame Tussaud's wax museum has now grown to become one of the major tourist attractions in London, and has expanded with branches in Amsterdam, Beijing, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Montreal, Sydney, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Shanghai, Washington, D. C. , New York City, Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore Vienna and recently Delhi.


Tussaud was perceived as a royal sympathizer; in the Reign of Terror she was arrested.


In 1795, she married François Tussaud, a civil engineer. The couple had three children, a daughter who died after birth, and two sons, Joseph and François.

Joseph Grosholtz

Anne-Marie Walder

François Tussaud