Moulding Life in Wax

Wax StatueThe incredible life of Marie Grosholtz began in 1761. After her father was killed in Europe’s Seven Years’ War, she grew up in the household of Dr. Phillipe Curtius, who owned a waxwork exhibition called the Cavern of the Great Thieves. Marie learnt the art of wax modelling in Curtius’ studio. Marie then joined the French Royal court as an art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister.

After the French Revolution broke out, Marie was imprisoned along with some members of the Royal family and shared a cell with the future Empress Josephine Beauharnais. She received the order of making death masks of King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. In 1794, Marie inherited Dr. Curtius’ exhibition. In 1795 she married Francois Tussauds.

In 1802, Tussaud left for touring the British Isles where her work won roaring popularity. 33 years later in 1835 Madam Tussauds Museum found permanent site in London’s Baker Street.

Amongst the hundreds of wax statues there, one would find Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Charlie Chaplin, the Late Princess Diana, David Beckham, Hollywood star couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan are even not left behind. Many others are Julia Roberts flaunting that million dollar smile, Sophia Loren, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Hitler, Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II; nowhere else in the world Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush has been found in the same room!!! We also find the entire crew of “Pirates of the Carribean”. We find Spiderman…and the Incredibles.

How is the wax work done?… Let us take a look at what exactly happens in the greenroom:-

The first and foremost is the celebrity sitting. The sculptor draws out the basic rough sketch and takes the measurement as accurately as possible. An iron structure is made and a blend of clay and wax is used to make the shape of the figure. With wax the head mask is made. When the statue is finally made, a fibre glass coating is given for it to look more realistic. It normally takes about 3 months to make a statue.

Who would ever understand the difference between a real human being and a wax statue at Madam Tussauds’? Sometimes you feel David Beckham is looking straight at you.. the next moment the person standing just next to you whom you had been thinking to be a statue all this while actually walks away to the next room…!!

Aryani Banerjee