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Tattoo Exhibition: British Tattoo Art Revealed

The Historic Dockyard in Chatham is home to some incredible displays, and their Spring 2020 instalment was set to be a great one. Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed was installed at their Smithery gallery and was due to open in March, but unfortunately due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Dockyard sadly had to close its doors to members of the public.  The exhibition still remains,and although the public won't have the pleasure of viewing it in person, the Dockyard have gone out of their way to create a virtual version of the exhibition, which will allow people to arrange a virtual tour for themselves!

The exhibition itself gives an insightful look into the history of British tattooing and features hundreds of original artworks, photographs, and other artefacts related to tattooing.  It allows its visitors to delve into the world of tattooing and challenges some of the many pre-conceptions and myths about the art of tattooing. 
Tattoos are present in different walks of life - from sailors to punks, and pilgrims to royalty, the exhibition shows an array of ways in which tattoos have presented themselves throughout history, with works from the likes of George Burchett and Lal Hardy on show.  

The exhibition was curated by Dr Matt Lodder, a lecturer in Contemporary Art History, and Director of American Studies at the University of Essex,  who was supported by co-curators Stuart Slade and Derryth Ridge of the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall. 

We're hopeful that as the lockdown eases that the Historic Dockyard will be able to re-open their doors so that members of the public can gaze upon the incredible collection of tattoo-related artefacts and displays and learn more about this interesting industry. 


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  • Antonia McLoughlin