Scratch Your Name on My Arm With a Fountain Pen

Jacobus Van Dyn’s tattoos would make him an object of comment today; imagine their effect in 1930’s England. Van Dyn worked as a stevedore on the Southampton Dock while collecting work from some of the principle artists of his age, including the esteemed George Burchett. He was also known to pass the time regaling passers by at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park with tales from his life of sin.

Howard Grey, in 1959, documented Van Dyn’s tattoos in a series of portraits. Readers wishing to review the portraits, one of which is published below, may do so here.  Thankfully, Grey declined an opportunity to photograph Van Dyn’s heavily tattooed penis.

I first encountered this story via the good people at Sang Bleu who I heartily recommend you add to your daily reading list.

– Captain of Games

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