Madame Tussaud, born Marie Grosholtz in Straßburg in 1761, learned her trade with the German wax sculptor Philippe Curtius who had several successful wax figure cabinets in Paris in the 1770s.
By 1803 Mme Tussaud had achieved great success after moving her work to London where she added figures of British royalty to her collection. We know that she made a waxwork of George III 'from life' to celebrate the King’s Golden Jubilee of 1810.
The wax cast you can see at Kew Palace was produced in 1996-7 from an original mould kept at Madame Tussauds'. It has been painted taking inspiration from contemporary portraits of the King.
"When the wax head is not on display, it is kept in the dress stores at Kensington Palace. Whenever I show the stores to visitors I ceremoniously open the box without telling them what’s inside. The wax head is so life-like that it really startles people. I know it’s a cheap trick but I quite enjoy it."
Beatrice Behlen, Curator
The Georgian era was a time of elegance and enlightenment and this popular age has inspired our collection of books, luxury gifts, exquisite jewellery and unique dress up.
Discover books inspired by the palaces in our care, learn about fascinating periods of British history, including our official palace guide books, children's books and more.
The most intimate of our six royal palaces, Kew was built as a private house in 1631 and used by the royal family between 1729 and 1818. These gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kew Palace.