• Vaxmynd-02

Óskar Theodór Óskarsson‘s Wax Figure

Richard Lee around 1950

Óskar Theodór Ottesen Óskarsson was killed when line fishing boat Jarlinn was lost at sea in September 1941 on its way to Iceland from England. Theodór was 23 years old, son of Óskar Halldórsson, the owner of Jarlinn. Nothing was ever found of the ship. The father, the great ship-owner, wrote moderate and understated accounts of the ship's disappearance in his diary while painfully mourning his son.

The father and son had shared an interest for a long time in creating a wax museum in Iceland and so the father started the time-consuming and expensive project of creating such a museum. Richard Lee, an English sculptor who had learned the art of wax sculpting at Madame Tussaud in London, was hired to make the wax figures. No expense was spared and ten years later the collection was ready. It consisted of replicas of famous individuals, Icelandic and foreign, as well as the figure of Óskar Theodór. The money from the insurance claim and Óskar Theodór's inheritance was used to cost the project and the father and his remaining children gave the Icelandic state the collection in memory of their son and brother who was lost at sea.

The wax figures were considered fine works of art. The images were exact replicas of the originals and their clothing even made to look as much alike as possible. Making the replica of Óskar Theodór was however more complex than the others since only one or two photographs existed for the artist to work by. Finding a place for the collection was no easy task either but on July 14 th 1951 an exhibition of the wax figures opened in the National Museum. It was only intended to stay open for a few days but the wax collection became a hit and the exhibition eventually stayed open until 1971.


Þjms Collection of Wax Figures

The National Museum of Iceland