Photo Gallery Follows The Text
Isobel Varley may have not gotten her first tattoo until she was in her 40s but she more than made up for that time lost with voracity and enthusiasm. Varley, who was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most tattooed senior, passed away at the age of 78 this week.
Varley never intended on becoming the world's most tattooed anything when she went to her first tattoo convention in 1986 to get a small bird tattoo. But after getting nearly 200 tattoos in the next 1o years Varley showed that she had quickly become an enormous fan of tattooing and body art.
"This came about as I was so impressed by the sheer beauty of the tattoos and I found that the people there were ordinary people from all walks of life and were not strange," Varley told the BBC in 2008.
And while Varley clearly embraced tattooing she did share some words of wisdom for others thinking about getting inked for their first time.
"If you're going to have one done, you've got to think about it carefully because it's going to last a very long time so you've got to be sure it's what you want," Varley said.
On her heavily inked body Varley had both beautiful tattoos and funny tattoos. Some had aged well while others looked a little haggard. Looking at her skin allowed one to almost experience an era of tattoo history all at once. One of Varley's most talked about, and frankly hilarious, tattoos was a butterfly on her skull. A butterfly made out of penises. If that doesn't demonstrate that Varley had a great sense of humor nothing will.
Varley passed after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease this week. In the almost 30 years since she got her first ink she was a staple on the tattoo convention scene and beloved by the tattooers who contributed to covering roughly 93% of her body with art.