Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

Tattoo

I don’t know anything about Michael Davies except that he was a Graphic Design student at the Royal from 1955 to 1958. He gained a 2.2. I wonder what became of him? A few years ago his student sketchbook pages came up on eBay, and I bought this one for a tenner. A young man in a t-shirt has taken off his jacket or outer shirt to reveal an elaborate tattoo on his upper arm. The inscription reads:

“tatoo[sic] the first noted. recorded as seen in South Harrow train on a hot evening. Michael Davies”

The loose pen and ink lines are very period, and both style and subject owe something to the example of Keith Vaughan. (This is probably the closest I will ever get to owning a Vaughan …) I’m impressed that someone working in art & design in the mid ‘fifties should have been motivated to sketch examples of tattoo art; I can’t think offhand of other examples.

I imagine that Davies drew this from memory, so the details of the elaborate design are not clear, but I’m guessing that it might be a naval or regimental badge of some kind?

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One response to “Tattoo

  1. charlotte illidge December 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    i like this piece mr warren!

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