23 August 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 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 the 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 Favorite 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. 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 apparent autobiography, Memoirs of a Tattooist, edited by Peter Leighton (a pseudonym of writer Edward Spiro / EH Cookridge), was published in 1958 by Oldbourne Book Company and includes photographs illustrating some of his tattoo designs, though recent research has revealed that the book is not actually a compilation of Burchett's own notes, but a confection cribbed quickly from newspaper articles shortly after George's death.
- Lodder, Matt. "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Burchett, George (1872–1953)". Oxford University Press. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- George Burchett The BME Encyclopedia feature
- Reiter, Jon, "The King of Tattooists". Solid State Press, 2012