The biggest of the earlier British tattoists was George Burchett who began his professional career in 1900. This was the time when Riley and MacDonald had reached the heigth of their carrier.

Burchett was born in Brighton. When he was a child his fantasy was inspired from the stories and adventures of the old sea-men which he met on the beach of Brighton. He was fascinated by their tattoos and was very interested in how they were made. At the age of ten or eleven he began to practice on his schoolmates and used different kinds of needles. His clients were very satisfied with his work but not their parents.

After Burchett refused to promise to give up tattooing he was reprehended from school. Two years later he went to the Royal Navy. In the Navy he became a friend to an old seaman. He was also tattooed on his face and taught him the remaining secrets of tattooing.

Burchett was mostly impressed by the Burman and Japanese tattoos on the arms of the other travelling seamen. As his ship anchored at Yokohama he was tattooed by Hori Chiyo who also tattooed the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York seven years before.

After he travelled twelve years as a seaman and anonym tattooer, he returned to England. At the age of 28 he opened his first tattoo-shop in London which meant a lot of work, a bit of luck and the title “King of Tattooists”.

Burchett is the only British artist from the beginnings who left a biography about his life and work. He had a diary , wrote a lot of letters and made detailed notes in his books. Furthermore, he was a passionate collector of documents, pictures, transcriptions and tattoo-instruments.

Before Burchett died, he wrote a concept for a book which was based on his diaries and other collected material. Before his death Burchett completed various chapters and after his death his friend Peter Leighton completed the existing material. He got help from the widow and other family members.