Madame Tussauds museums are famous throughout the world for their lifelike wax models of the rich and famous. The first of the museums was opened by Madame Tussauds herself- Marie Tussaud! Marie was born on 1st December in France 260 years ago! She learnt the art of wax modelling from Philippe Curtis, who was a Swiss physician and wax modeller. Curtis met Marie whilst her mother worked for him as a housekeeper. He took her under a wing and taught her how to create realistic figures when she was still only a child. Philippe Curtis would eventually give up his trade of physician to become a full-time wax model maker. Upon his death, he left Marie Tussaud his entire collection of wax lifelike figures.
Marie had an interesting and varied life. She was the art tutor of Louis XVI’s sister, and would later spend 33 years touring with the wax figures Curtis had made, and her own. She opened her famous Madame Tussauds museum in 1835 in Baker Street, London. Some of the original wax works still exist, including ones made by Curtis. There are currently 21 museums around the world.
Fun facts about Madame Tussauds
The wax figures each take about 4 months to create with a cost of over $300,000!
Each strand of hair is individually inserted- that’s over 100,000 strands of hair that are carefully put in by hand!
The wax figures regularly undergo maintenance, where their hair and makeup are both touched up.
Around 300 photos are taken of the person being recreated in wax, to make sure that every nuance of their body is taken into account!
Red silk thread is used to create the veins inside the eyes and knotted ropes are used as veins for the body!