Who Was… Madame Tussaud

by Tony Thorne

  • Published: 01 Apr 2004
  • Price: £4.50
  • Format: Paperback
  • Extent: 120p
  • ISBN: 9781904095291
  • Buy it now from Amazon.co.uk
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Waxwork Queen of the French Revolution

Young Marie first showed a talent for life modelling as a teenager in Paris. Sent to olive in the royal household, she started sculpting famous figures, including King Louis XVI himself.

When the Revolution struck, Marie was torn. She understood why the poor had risen up in protest, but she couldn’t forget the kindnesses of the King. Should she stick with the royalists, or go over to the rebels’ side? The French Revolution as it turned out, was only the start of Marie’s adventures. This is the amazing story of the woman who founded London’s celebrated waxwork museum, Madame Tausaud’s.

‘This was the most ambitious project Marie had ever attempted, but she was quite sure of her skills. Curtius’ diligent apprentice had turned into an artist and perfectionist. And she would work day and night if necessary to get her models right.

The clay portraits became the moulds over which molten wax was poured. Once the wax had cooled and hardened into a ghostly sheen, Marie would paint on the blush of the cheeks […] even the haughtiest of the courtiers were silenced by the masterpiece that confronted them. They gazed wide-eyed at the breathtakingly realistic faces, at the bodies so exact in size and weight. This was no sculpture in cold, colourless marble or stone; it was like a painting come to life. No – it was even more uncannily real, a set of breathing human beings, made of flesh and blood but frozen in an instant for all time…’

About Tony Thorne