16 March—16 June 2019

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed

A ground-breaking and comprehensive history of British tattooing, featuring cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors to tell a story that challenges long-standing myths and pre-conceptions.

Showcasing the work of major tattoo artists this is the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the UK and celebrates the astonishingly rich artistic heritage of tattooing as an art form.

The exhibition features items from three of the most important private collections of tattoo material in Britain, belonging to Willie Robinson, Jimmy Skuse, and Paul ‘Rambo’ Ramsbottom, providing a rare opportunity to display original artwork and artefacts not otherwise on public display.

The exhibition also delves into previously unseen private archives that reveal hidden histories, including the incredible story of Britain’s pioneering female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight.

The exhibition features over 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artefacts.

Share your tattoo story with us

It is estimated that about one in five of the UK population is tattooed and this figure rises to one in three for young adults. From ruffians to royalty; from sailors to socialites; from pilgrims to punks: tattoos have been etched into bodies throughout British history.

So we’d like to hear from you – tell us the stories of your tattoos and make our exhibition truly representative of Bristol’s rich tattoo culture.

We’ll be featuring our favourite stories in the exhibition itself and on our social media channels.  Everyone taking part will receive free tickets to the exhibition as well as an invitation to the opening.

Tell us your tattoo tale and read other Bristol tattoo stories


With thanks to:
National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Garfield Weston Foundation and Sir John Fisher Foundation.