Image via the Museum of London Image via the Museum of London

London has a long and rich history with tattoos, it has moved on from port workers of the 1750s with crudely drawn tattoos to become a respected art form.

In 1776 Captain James Cook returned from Polynesia and told the tale of the 'tattooed savages,' introducing the word 'tattoo' to the English language, derived from the Tahitian 'tatau'.

Famous Brits from David Beckham, to Samantha Cameron and even David Dimbleby have all had needlework done. One of the most infamous tattoos is George V's. There are no photographs of the tattoo, but it is believed that in 1881 the future king had a red and blue dragon tattooed on himself during a trip to Japan. Hi father too, Edward VII, 'got inked' with a Jerusalem Cross tattoo in 1898.

David Dimbleby getting tattooed in 2013 Image via Youtube David Dimbleby getting tattooed in 2013
Image via Youtube

Britain's first tattoo parlour opened in 1894 by Sutherland MacDonald above a Turkish bath at 76 Jermyn Street. The parlour was extremely opulent, decorated with Oriental-inspired art and furniture. Sadly, the building, was destroyed during the Blitz. However, London's love affair with the tattoo lived on.

During the early 1900s, London's first ever tattoo exhibition was held, starting a trend for the tattooed 'freak' in travelling circuses. In 1921, Justine Knight, the first British female tattoo artist, opened a parlour in London.

Female tattoo champion Pam Nash at Les Skuse tattoo studio Image via Les Skuse Female tattoo champion Pam Nash at Les Skuse tattoo studio
Image via Les Skuse

During the years of and between the two world wars, tattoos declined in popularity. Wintston Churchill's mother had a a serpent tattooed around her wrist and today, David Dimbleby answers the age-old question: ''But how will it look when you're old?'' by getting a tattoo of a scorpion at the Vagabond studio in east London at the grand age of 74.

Artworks commissioned by London tattoo studios Lal Hardy at New Wave, Alex Binnie at Into You, Claudia de Sabe at Seven Doors and Mo Coppoletta at The Family Business will be on display.

Tattoo London will run from 29 January - 8 May 2016 at the Museum of London. Find out more here.

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