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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
An Artist in Wax lived here
Anna Maria Tussaud once lived here and famed for wax sculptures
Location: 24 Wellington Road, St John's Wood, NW8
Description: From 1838 to 1839, a very special sculptor lived here and the building now adorns a Blue Plaque.
Anna Maria Tussaud (Grosholtz, sometimes spelled Grossholtz or Grossholz) or Marie Tussaud (1 December 1761 - 16 April 1850) was a French artist known for her wax sculptures.
She of course was the inspiration behind London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum, which has become one of the major tourist attractions in capital, and has expanded with branches in Amsterdam, Hong Kong (Victoria Peak), Las Vegas, Shanghai, Berlin, Washington D.C.,New York City, and Hollywood.
In 1778, she created her first wax figure, that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 1795, she married Francois Tussaud. They had two children, Joseph and Francois.
In 1802, Marie Tussaud went to London together with Joseph, then four years old, her other son staying behind. As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, she was unable to return to France, so she travelled with her collection throughout Great Britain and Ireland. In 1821 or 1822, her other son, Francois, joined her. In 1835, she established her first permanent exhibition in Baker Street, on the 'Baker Street Bazaar'. In 1838, she wrote her memoirs. In 1842, she made a self-portrait which is now on display at the entrance of her museum. Some of the sculptures done by Tussaud herself still exist.
She died in her sleep in London on 16 April 1850. She was eighty-eight years old. There is a memorial tablet to Madame Marie Tussaud on the right side of the nave of St. Mary's, Cadogan Street, London.