A new display as been unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London in time for the Easter break. It is expected that the Cambridge’s installation will be the most popular wax figures at the Baker Street attraction, overtaking the Queen, Lady Gaga and the Beckhams. The updated version of Prince William’s figure along with his bride, Kate Middleton has taken months of careful craftsmanship to complete. A team of around 30 worked for four months creating each of the models from sculpting in clay to moulding the body in fibreglass, colouring the heads, painting the eyes, creating the head of hair a strand at a time and styling clothes and authentic accessories.
The Tussauds artists worked from the photograph taken by Mario Testino at the announcement of their engagement in November 2010. Kate is wearing the now famous blue Issa dress to match the sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to William’s mother the late Diana Princess of Wales. Liz Edwards, from Madame Tussauds, said: ”The Queen is the most popular attraction but since the royal wedding fever we’ve had people coming in to see William when he was without Catherine. ”Catherine has her own star quality so we are expecting a lot of people to come, especially with the Easter weekend coming.”
Sculptor Stephen Mansfield created William’s wax head and has worked on high profile figures like David Cameron, the Duchess of Cornwall and David Beckham, but said the interest in the new royal figures was likely to surpass these celebrities. Louis Wiltshire, who made Kate’s wax head, said: “We created the engagement scene, that press call when they both looked a little bit nervous but so happy – that’s what we wanted to come across. Madame Tussauds revealed that they had approached the Royal couple for a live sitting for their wax works, which cost £150,000 each, but due to their busy schedules a time could not be arranged so pictures were used to create the models. Other past royals have sat for sculptors from the famous London attraction including the Queen, Diana, Camilla, the Duke of York and his former wife Sarah.
A spokeswoman for the attraction explained that: ‘Madame Tussauds enjoys a close relationship with the British royal family dating back to William IV who was monarch when the first attraction opened in London in 1835.’ The museum was founded by Anna Maria Tussaud, an artist famous for her ability to create lifelike wax sculptures. In 1778, she created her first wax figure, that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and she would later modelled other famous personages, such as Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. In 1835, she established her first permanent exhibition in Baker Street, on the upper floor of the ‘Baker Street Bazaar’. And to this day Some of the sculptures done by Tussaud herself are still exhibited at the museum.
Wax works have recently come back into fashion with contemporary artists, largely thanks to the work of Gavin Turk. Turk’s key work Pop, for example, is a waxwork of Turk as Sid Vicious in white jacket and black trousers, pointing a gun. It toured London, Berlin and New York as part of Saatchi’s 1997 exhibit Sensation.