Tussaud created her first wax figure, of Voltaire, in 1777. Other famous people she modelled at that time include Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. During the French Revolution she modelled many prominent victims. In her memoirs she claims that she would search through corpses to find the decapitated heads of executed citizens, from which she would make death masks. Her death masks were held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris.
In 1802, she went to London. 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. By 1835 Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened her museum.
The script of the film by Alessandro Camon and Bruno Ledoux showcases the Swiss wax sculptors life, beginning with her budding interest in her art while in Paris in the late 1700s to her harrowing experiences in the French Revolution creating death masks and barely surviving the guillotine herself.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.