August 23, 1872
Brighton, East Sussex, England
|Other names||King of Tattooists|
George 'Professor' Burchett (also styled the 'King of Tattooists') was born George Burchett-Davis on August 23, 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 the HMS Vincent. After absconding from the Navy, he returned to England, where he was trained in tattoo artistry in London by the legendary English tattooists Tom Riley and Sutherland MacDonald.
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, King Frederick IX of Denmark and the 'Sailor King' George V of the United Kingdom. He also tattooed Horace Ridler ('The Great Omi').
He constantly designed new tattoos from his worldwide travel, incorporating African, Japanese and Southeast Asian motifs into his work. 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 81. His autobiography, Memoirs of a Tattooist, edited by Peter Leighton, was published in 1958 by Oldbourne Book Company and includes photographs illustrating some of his tattoo designs.
- George Burchett The BME Encyclopedia feature