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History Of Madame Tussaud's

( Originally Published 1920 )

Placard (continued)-The old Exhibition—Celebrities of the day—Tussaud's mummy—Poetic eulogism—Removal to Baker Street—The Iron Duke's rejoinder—Madame de Malibran.

THE old placard next proceeds to enumerate some of the then modern celebrities in the Exhibition as follows :

Portrait likeness of the Rev. John Clowes, of St. John's Church, Manchester, and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cam-bridge, taken (with permission) from life within the last ten years; the Artist, Mr. J. P. Kemble, in the character of Ham-let; the celebrated Mrs. Siddons in the character of Queen Catherine ; Dey of Algiers ; full-length Portrait of Daniel O'Connell, esq., M.P., taken with permission (from Mr. P. Turnerelli's celebrated bust), for which Mr. O'Connell gave sittings in Dublin; Sir Walter Scott, taken from life in Edinburgh, by Madame Tussaud, which was seen by thousands, and also honored by his approbation; Lord Byron, taken from life in Italy.

The other subjects comprising this unique exhibition, consisting of Characters in full dress as large as life, correctly executed, may be classed as follows:

The late Royal Family of France, taken from life, viz., the King, Queen, and Dauphin; Pope Pius VI., Henry IV. of France, Duc de Sully, M. Voltaire, Napoleon Buonaparte, Madame Joseph Buonaparte, Cardinal Fesche, one of Buonaparte's Mameluke Guards, and Prince Roustan, Buonaparte's favorite Mameluke.


An old Coquette, who teased her husband's life out. Two beautiful Infants. A small cabinet of Portaits in wax by the celebrated Courcius of Paris, viz., the Dying Philosopher, Socrates. Death of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. M. Voltaire. Shepherd and Shepherdess.

Biographical and descriptive Sketches may be had at the place of Exhibition, price Sixpence each.

Madame TUSSAUD and sows, in offering this little notice to the Public, have endeavoured to blend utility and amusement. It contains an outline of the history of each character represented in the Exhibition, which will not only greatly in-crease the pleasure to be derived from a mere view of the figures, but will also convey to the minds of young persons much biographical knowledge, a branch of education universally allowed to be one of the highest importance.

Admittance is. Children under 8 Years of Age 6d.; second room 6d.

Tickets for Six Weeks not transferable, 5s. Open every day from II till 4 o'clock, in the Evening from 7 till 10.

The following highly interesting figures and objects, in consequence of the Peculiarity of their appearance, are placed in an adjoining situation, and are well worth the attention of artists and amateurs, taken by order of the National Assembly by Madame Tussaud—The Celebrated John Marat, one of the leaders of the French Revolution, taken immediately after his assassination by Charlotte Corde. The following heads—Robespiere, Carrier, Fouquier de Tainville, and Herbert were taken immediately after execution. The celebrated Count de Lorge, who was confined twenty years in the Bastile, taken from life. Mirabeau. Also, Phrenological Portraits of


Who were executed in Edinburgh on the 13th of August, 1829, having confessed to the murder of Seven Persons by means of Poison, which they familiarly called doctoring.

Casts of CORDER and HOLLOWAY, taken from their faces.


The shirt of Henry IV. of France in which he was assassinated by Ravaillac, with various original documents relative to that transaction. A small model of the original French Guillotine, with its apparatus. Model of the Bastile in Paris in its entire state.


Proved by the Hieroglyphics to be the body of the Princess of Memphis, who lived in the time of Sesostris, King of Egypt, a.m. 2528, 1491 years before Christ, being actually 3328 years old.

(Phair, Printer, 67, Great Peter Street, Westminster.)

A further placard is headed as follows:


The Flattering Success with which this Exhibition continues to be honored, (the Promenade being Crowded every Evening), the very general desire expressed by Thousands for it to re-main some time longer, (its merits becoming more generally known), being acknowledged to be the most Splendid, and, at the same time, the most Instructive to Youth, (induces the Proprietors to obey the general wish.) It will remain in con-sequence till further Notice.

The Exhibition is, therefore, located in "The Great Assembly Room of the late Royal London Bazaar, Gray's Inn Road." There it remained till early in March, 1835, on the 21st of which month it removed to its quarters in Baker Street.

As for the Assembly Room, it appears that on Tuesday, the 29th of March, directly after Madame Tussaud left, it was put up for sale at the Mart by the famous auctioneer, George Robins.

A lady, on viewing the Exhibition when it was in Gray's Inn Road, wrote the following excellent verses:

I stand amid a breathless throng,
Though animation's light is here;
_Expression, too, that might belong
To creatures of a nobler sphere;
Where'er I turn my dazzled view,
I marvel what Art's hand can do !

Here are the lips, and cheeks, and eyes,
The folded hands—the beaming brow—
Those graces Nature's self supplies
All burst upon my vision now !
And is it fiction?—can it be
That these are not reality?

The eye, where centres Genius' light;
The lips, where Eloquence presides ;—
The cheek with Beauty's roses bright;
The breast, where Passion darkly hides ;
The 'Warrior's pride, the Cynic's sneer,
From Nature's book are copied here !

Painting her meed of praise may claim
From Fame's proud trump or Minstrel's lyre,
And around sculpture's gifted name
May burn the poet's words of fire;
But Tussaud! Both these arts divine
Must yield in novelty to thine.

Thou bring'st before our wond'ring eyes,
Modell'd in truth, each gone-by scene
That Hist'ry's varied page supplies ;
Here still they flourish, fresh and green,
Defying Time's oblivious power,
Who long have pass'd Life's fitful hour.

Modern Prometheus ! who can'st give,
Like him of old, to human form
All but the life ;—here thou wilt live
And triumph o'er the "creeping worm"
That sullies all things—pale Decay !
Thy features ne'er can pass away!

A nobler Trophy far is thine,
Than "storied urn," by stranger hands,
Rear'd (in thy now adopted clime),
And higher reverence commands ;
These forms—to which thine Art has lent
Life's truth—shall be thy monument!


It is interesting to note that one of the first visitors to the Exhibition in its settled home at Baker Street was the great Duke of Wellington. He was there on Wednesday, the 26th of August, and after that date was frequently to be seen walking through the rooms, his favourite models being those of Queen Victoria and the dead Napoleon.

Indeed, the Duke requested Mr. Joseph Tussaud, the elder son of Madame Tussaud, to let him know whenever a new figure of exceptional interest was added to the Exhibition—not forgetting the Chamber of Horrors.

Mr. Tussaud ventured a remark expressing his surprise that the Duke should be interested in such figures, whereupon the old warrior turned upon him with the rejoinder, "Well, do they not represent fact?"

Other models added about this time included those of Nicholas I of Russia, Louis Philippe, King of the French, the Duke of Cumberland, Talleyrand, and Hume, the historian.

A tragic occurrence took place shortly after the Exhibition had taken up its abode in London, and led to its permanent establishment in the Metropolis. At that time Madame de Malibran, the eldest daughter of the Spanish singer, Manuel Garcia, was idolised by the populace as a gifted songstress. She died suddenly during a festival held at Manchester on the 23rd of September, 1836, in the twenty-eighth year of her age.

Madame Tussaud placed her figure in the Exhibition with all speed, and the numerous admirers of the prima donna flocked to see it. The idea there and then took hold of Madame Tussaud's mind that the Exhibition would command perennial success by being constantly brought up to date through the adding of the portraits of people whose names were on everybody's lips. This principle has been faithfully observed ever since.

In the early days at Baker Street "the Hours of Exhibition," as the Catalogue quaintly puts it, were "from 11 in the Morning till 5, and from 7 in the Evening till 'o. Brilliantly illuminated at 8." When the place was closed, seats were provided in the vestibule, and it was no uncommon sight to see from fifty to a hundred persons waiting for the reopening of the doors at 7 p.m.

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