Madame Tussaud, age 85, in her London museum

 

Death masks of freshly executed criminals were her specialty!

Few people knew the unapologetic sensationalism of Victorian popular culture better than Marie Grosholtz, better known as Madame Tussaud of wax-museum fame.

Born to a family line dotted with public executioners, and apprenticed to her mother’s employer, an anatomist who sculpted in wax, Marie was not exactly the sort of girl who dreamed of white lace and piano lessons: instead, she honed her skills making death masks from guillotined heads during the French Revolution.

Read the rest of the article at Atlas Obscura.

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