Monday, May 02, 2011

Tattoo Number Seven - St Paul's Cathedral

When I've been asked what I planned for my seventh tattoo my answer was ... generally longer than a tweet. I eventually whittled it down to: a traditional style reinterpretation of "St Paul's during the blitz" inside an ornate gold frame with traditional roses underneath. Which is only 130 characters long. But kind of confusing.

St Pauls AND the Millennium Bridge

The idea for this tattoo came to me fully formed last November ...

It's no secret that I adore London. It was London which made me believe in the ridiculous Carrie-Bradshaw-esque notion of falling in love with a city. St Paul's Cathedral is at the centre of my London.

It was crossing the Millennium Bridge with my hands clasped round a coffee and that Dome in my sights when I couldn't keep from breaking into a wide wide smile.

St Paul'
St Paul's during the Blitz - photo by Herbert Mason

I've loved the photo of St Paul's during the Blitz by Herbert Mason for ... as long as I can remember.

It was used as symbol of resilience, to show that - even as late as 1940 - London could not be brought low by destruction. What was not then well known was that St Paul's was assiduously protected by local forces and citizens alike.

It's a beautiful image and a beautiful sentiment. But I digress (SHOCKING, I KNOW).

Tattoo drawing, held down by bunnies

I chose a frame to anchor the image, to make it stand alone as a tattoo. The roses link it from my right arm to my right side to my left thigh. And just because I love traditional tattoo style roses.

Jeremy Gill from Tattoo Machine did all the work and he was amazing. I loved the drawing and when he freehanded the smoke? It was kind of terrifying. He really was moving the machine like he was using a coloured pencil. Blech.
I ended up bleeding quite a lot.
And despite all of that? it wasn't really all that painful.

Freshly Done

All wrapped & gross looking

Cleaned and bepanthaned

Twelve days from now he's going to add the colour. I can't wait.

And so, Saint Paul joins my other darling tattoos:
1. Cupcake
2. Crown
3. Rose
4. Sugarskull
5. Jitterbug Perfume
6. In Omnia Paratus


  1. Woo! Love it! And great placement :-D

  2. I can't wait to see it with colour! It makes me want to get a proper tattoo (since I still really like my little practice one!)

  3. It's fantastic! I can't wait to see it coloured!

  4. Nice! I like it! Very nice!

  5. Two things:
    - This idea is so fantastic, and that image of St Paul's in the Blitz really is haunting. What a beautiful way to represent the connection you feel to London.
    - I have never heard that Larkin poem before, it is wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing both your influence and the near finished product. It's a wonderful moment when you fall in love with something the second it adorns your skin.

  6. looks amazing doll! cant wait to see all of these in person! ax