Marie Tussaud (formerly Marie Grosholtz) was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1761. After her father’s death, she and her mother moved in with a doctor named Philippe Curtius, who founded a waxwork modeling company in Paris and trained Marie in the art of making waxworks. From 1780 until the beginning of the French Revolution Marie made famous portraits of celebrities including Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire, but as someone who’d worked for the royal family, she was arrested during the Reign of Terror and was only saved from execution when she agreed to make death masks of those who had been guillotined. She first came to London in 1802 to show some of her pieces but ended up stuck because the Napoleonic Wars had broken out and the journey back to France became impossible. Instead, she and her son toured Britain, eventually settling in London and founding the first Madame Tussauds waxwork museum, just down the road from the current premises! After her death in 1850, her son carried on her work and the museum stayed under the management of her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren until the 1930s. Today there are 23 locations worldwide, each with their own local collections of waxworks. Madame Tussauds London still owns several of Marie Tussaud’s original waxworks, but they’re rarely displayed.