was founded by a wax sculpture Marie Tussaud and was formerly known as "Madame Tussaud’s", but the apostrophe is no longer used. Madame Tussaud is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and infamous murderers.
Madame Tussaud, was born as Anna Maria Grosholtz
(1761–1850) in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked as a
housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius inBern, Switzerland, who was a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. Tussaud created her first wax figures, of Voltaire, in 1777. At that time she modelled other famous people including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin
During the French Revolution she modeled many prominent
victims Her marriage to François Tussaud in 1795 lent
a new name to the show: Madame Tussaud's. In 1802, she went to London having accepted an invitation from Paul Philidor, a magic lantern and phantasmagoria pioneer, to exhibit her work alongside his show at the Lyceum Theatre, London. She did not fare particularly well financially, with Philidor taking half of her profits.
As a result of the Franco-British war, she
was unable to return to France, so she travelled
throughout Great Britain and Ireland exhibiting her collection. From 1831 she took a series of short leases on the upper floor of "Baker Street Bazaar”. This became Tussaud's first permanent home. By 1835 Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened a museum.
Madame Tussaud's wax museum has now grown to
become a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating (until
2010) the London Planetarium in its west wing. It has expanded and will expand with branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York City, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna and Washington, D.C. Today's wax figures at Tussauds include historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. Known as "Madame Tussauds" museums (no apostrophe), they are owned by a leisure company called Merlin Entertainments, following the acquisition of The Tussauds Group in May 2007.