Detective Shaw’s London: Madame Tussauds
I have already talked about Madame Tussauds in the article dedicated to the Marylebone district (which I invite you to read for more information), but I thought that this very famous wax museum deserved another article entirely focused on it, given the crucial role it plays in the final book of the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy, “Beyond the Limit”.
It is part of a chain of wax museums, present in twelve different cities around the world, but the first was precisely that of London, founded by the sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1835, the year in which she held the first exhibition of her collection. Currently, the Madame Tussauds museum chain belongs to the English company Merlin Entertainment, which among other things also owns Gardaland in Italy.
I had the pleasure of visiting the museum twice at a great distance in time: once in 1990 and once in 2011. Some parts of the exhibition have not actually changed that much, especially those relating to the reconstructions of scenes from the past, while the waxworks of contemporary celebrities always tend to reflect the fashions of the times and, perhaps, the ageing of public figures they represent. Among the historical waxworks in particular, I cannot fail to mention “Sleeping Beauty”, which seems to be the oldest still on display. It is the work of Tussaud’s teacher, Doctor Curtius, and is dated 1765. This is characterised by a movement of the chest which simulates breathing, just as if she were sleeping, and represents Madame Du Barry.
The exhibition consists of a more or less obligatory path in which different settings are encountered. A particular room is the so-called party room, in which the waxworks are scattered in a large space and would almost blend in with the visitors if they were also wearing evening clothes.
Some are isolated, but others are connected to furnishing elements. There is, for example, George Clooney sitting at a table and visitors can sit next to or in front of him. And place their hand on his. Another particular waxwork is that of Julia Roberts, who is standing behind a chair…