19th Century Ink
When one thinks of people from the Victorian era, thoughts of well-to-do individuals with forbidding expressions on their faces come to mind. These folks would
never think of marking their bodies with tattoos. Well, it seems like we may have been wrong with that assumption, as an exhibit at a British museum recently opened up, which revealed a collection of photos of people from the Victorian era baring their ink.
Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Tatted Up in Victorian Times
Man displaying a spectacular winged woman surrounded by dragons and snakes across his chest and abdomen, as well as dragons and birds pieces on his arms. All done by Sutherland Macdonald. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The National Maritime Museum Cornwall in England recently launched an exhibit titled
Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed is a “ground-breaking and comprehensive history of British tattooing,” according to the museum’s website. Featuring over 400 historic artifacts, original artwork and photographs all dealing with tattoo art, one part of the exhibit that’s gaining major attention are the photographs of the work of a Victorian era tattoo artist by the name Sutherland Macdonald.
A couple of arm tattoos featuring a frog and a snake. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The photographs featuring Macdonald’s clients showcase the artist’s work, displaying beautiful and intricate tattoo designs adorning the bodies of some Victorian fellows. Macdonald is known as one of Britain’s first tattoo artists.
The Victorian Man with the Dragon Tattoo
One of the sickest dragon pieces you'll ever see. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall. He ventured into tattooing after he retired from the British Army where he served in the Anglo-Zulu War. After deciding to go pro in tattooing, he opened up the one of the first legit tattoo shops in Aldershot, Hampshire.
Coat of Arms
Man with coat of arms tattoo across his chest, done by Sutherland Macdonald. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Birds of Prey
Birds across this man's back, done by Sutherland Macdonald. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Wondrous Chest Piece
A beautiful chest piece by Sutherland Macdonald, featuring two women within an artistic frame comprised of dragons and vines. Photo: National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The tattoo artist is also known for having trained George “Professor” Burchett – also known as the “King of Tattooists” – who went on to become one of the most famous ink slingers in the world in the late 1800s.