1 Pioneering tattoo artist Prince Vallar is one of Glasgow’s most intriguing characters from city life between the two World Wars. Born Patrick Henson in Ireland in 1888, the son of Stephen Henson, and Henrietta Rosine, he would later take the name Vallar from his grandfather John.

2 According to Terry Manton , who is researching Prince Vallar’s story, by 1911 he was calling himself a ‘society tattooist’, reflecting a fashion for tattoos among the upper classes. He visited his clients at home. To keep up his business, in September 1915 he visited Edinburgh and opened what would now be called a ‘pop-up’ tattoo shop on Leith Walk.

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3 On May 27, 1912 at the age of 23, Prince Vallar left Glasgow for New York, with £100 (£8,000 in today’s money) in his pocket. Terry’s research reveals that by December, he was back and working at Glasgow Zoo, a favourite location for visiting tattooists since 1892.

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4 In 1935, he set up a tattoo parlour at 404 Argyle Street where he catered for sailors and members of the working classes. In her book, Billy, Pamela Stephenson reveals Billy Connolly used to stand outside Prince Vallar’s studio admiring the human body art, and longing for his own tattoo, although he never went through with it. Newspapers reported in 1936 that “Prince Vallar… has completed his 50,000th subject” and that his longest tattoo had taken “36 hours, working in four hour shifts - a representation of the Garden of Eden on a man’s chest.”

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5 Prince Vallar tattooed in the Argyle Street parlour for 12 years up until his death in 1947 aged 59 years. Terry says: “He had developed a unique style of tattooing that was instantly recognised worldwide. His fine, single needle, sketch-like designs with simple colouring were admired and copied by many. He had marked the skin of thousands of sailors, soldiers, merchant seamen and travellers from Russia to Hong Kong.”