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Historic Exhibition Catalogues

Historic Exhibition Catalogues

Marie Tussaud was a pioneer of the modern exhibition catalogue. The below are some examples of the many past Madame Tussauds catalogues.

Closer look

  • Unlike today’s museum catalogues, filled with essays and supplementary content about the objects, most exhibition catalogues in the early 1800s were simple, descriptive exhibit and object lists. Madame Tussauds’ catalogues on the other hand contained a wealth of information about each of her figures and tableau, from biographies of sitters to lengthy accounts of historical events.
  • It was Marie’s aim that the attraction be as educational as it was entertaining, and that each person learnt something new with their visit.
  • The archive contains copies of Madame Tussaud’s exhibition catalogues dating from 1803, when Marie first came to England, to the present day. The catalogues shown here date from 1892, 1897 and 1903, and were written by well-known author of the time George Augustus Sala. They reflect a period where the catalogue cover illustrations became highly decorative and colourful.