Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London; it has smaller museums in a number of other major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud (1 December 1761 – 16 April 1850) in 1835.

Her father, Joseph Grosholtz, was killed in the Seven Years' War just two months before Marie was born. When she was six years old, her mother, Anne-Marie Walder, took Marie to Bern, in Switzerland. There the family moved into the home of local doctor Philippe Curtius (1741–1794), for whom Anne-Marie acted as housekeeper.

Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. She showed talent for the technique and began working for him as an artist. In 1777, she created her first wax figure, that of Voltaire. From 1780 until the Revolution in 1789, Tussaud created many of her most famous portraits of celebrities such as those of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire.

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher. He was famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity (especially the Roman Catholic Church) as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

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