STUNNING RETRO pictures have offered a glimpse inside the studio of a 78-year-old tattoo artist who was a favourite with royalty.
The incredible images show a client considering a number of designs including a fiery dragon that tattooist George Burchett had inscribed on the chest of King Frederick IX of Denmark.
Other striking shots show a sailor home on leave having Burchett colour an old design, Burchett tattooing a butterfly on a young woman and Burchett preparing his needles for future clients at the end of the day.
The remarkable photographs were taken in George Burchett’s tattoo studio in 1951 and offer a glimpse into his world.
George Burchett was born on 23 August 1872 in the English seaside town of Brighton, East Sussex and became one of the most famous tattoo artists in the world.
Having been expelled from school at 12 for tattooing his classmates, he joined the Royal Navy at 13, developing his skills while travelling overseas as a deckhand on HMS Vincent. After absconding from the Navy, he returned to England.
With a studio on Mile End Road, and 72 Waterloo Road, London, Burchett became the first star tattooist and a favourite among the wealthy upper class and European royalty.
Among his customers were King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and King Frederick IX of Denmark. Though it was reputed that he tattooed the ‘Sailor King’ George V of the United Kingdom, there is no reliable evidence to attest to this actually being the case.
In the 1930s, he developed cosmetic tattooing with such techniques as permanently darkening eyebrows. He continued tattooing until he died suddenly on Good Friday in 1953 at the age of 80.