Sutherland Macdonald

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Sutherland Macdonald
Born25 June 1860
Died18 June 1942
Surbiton, London, England
Burial placeSurbiton Cemetery
Occupation Tattoo artist
Spouse(s)Sophia Weedon Annie Caroline Mayne (M:1887)
Amy Mary Keen (M:1934)
  • Robert Macdonald (1821/2–1898) (father)
  • Elizabeth Mitchell Macdonald (1821–1893) (mother)

Sutherland Macdonald was a prominent English tattoo artist in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and the first tattooist in Britain with an identifiable premises open to the public. Operating in a salon in London's Jermyn Street, he is listed in the 1894 London Post Office Directory. He is considered the first person to offer a professional tattoo service in London, although the practice was already popular in Japan and the Middle East prior to that time. [1] He was said to have tattooed "kings" and "princes", including George V when he was Duke of York. [2]



Macdonald served in the British Army in the 1870s as a telegraph operator in the Royal Engineers and was in the Anglo-Zulu War. [3]

In addition to artistic designs, he also performed color blending on skin grafts of accident victims. [4]

He died at his home on 3 Guilford Avenue, Surbiton and is buried at Surbiton Cemetery.


On January 29, 2016, the Museum of London opened a display of his work called Tattoo London. [5]

See also

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  1. "The man who started the tattoo craze in Britain is coming to a museum near you" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  2. Barker, Dudley. "This Tattooing Business", Evening Standard , London, England, number 35,098, February 23, 1937, page 7. (subscription required)
  3. Lodder, Matt. "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Macdonald, Sutherland (1860–1942)". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  4. "Tattoo Needle 'Darns Socks'", Sunday News , Lancaster, Pennsylvania, volume 13, number 10, November 17, 1935, page 22. (subscription required)
  5. "Incredible ink", The Independent on Sunday , London, England, number 1,349, January 10, 2016, page 3. (subscription required)