By Lal Hardy (New Wave Tattoo, London)
When I first took a decided interest in tattooing (more years ago than I care to remember) very little information was available on the subject, except in a few sensationalist or oddball newspaper reports or titillating stories in top shelf “mens” magazines. The only two books listed by the local library were Hanns Ebensten’s, Pierced Hearts and True Love and George Burchett’s, Memoirs of a Tattooist, both of which had been either stolen or “not returned!” Fortunately, I managed to procure a copy of Burchett’s book from a second-hand bookstall in a local market and read it with great interest. Since those days over 35 years ago a whole host of books on the subject of tattooing and tattoos have been published, covering absolutely every aspect of the art and trade. But surprisingly, despite being perhaps Britain’s most famous tattooist, no work had been written about the life and times of George Burchett since Memoirs of a Tattooist. That was until NOW, with the release of King of Tattooists; The Life and Work of George Burchett, by Jon Reiter… (www.solidstatebook.com)
On hearing about this book I placed an order immediately and a bit like a big kid waiting for Christmas, grew more excited about the forthcoming book. Upon its delivery it was unwrapped in double-quick time, revealing the eye-catching cover. Not one to stand on ceremony I proceeded to read the volume cover-to-cover. The book is an absolute treasure trove of photos of Burchett’s life, mixed with an amazing collection of his hand painted tattoo designs.
This, along with a beautifully written and interesting account of Burchett’s long and colorful life, from his young days in Brighton, to his Navy days and visits to China, Japan and other exotic locations, to the incident that found him in Jerusalem and his subsequent rise to international fame. The reader is taken on an incredible journey, which makes this a book for every tattoo enthusiast, collector and those with a thirst for tattoo history.
The book is hardback, and packed with color illustrations and black and white photos of this most enigmatic characters life. A gem of a book, that should be in every tattoo book collection.