In Memoriam: Isobel Varley

jentheripper in Stories

Last week, we learnt about the passing of Isobel Varley, the World's Most Tattooed Female Senior, with a lot of sadness.

She was a leading figure of tattoo art and body modifications, as well as a wonderful person. Here, at Tattoodo, we would like to pay a tribute to this gorgeous lady.

Isobel Varley started her full bodysuit in her late 40s.
Isobel Varley started her full bodysuit in her late 40s.

Isobel Varley received her final tattoo three years ago, the last of a collection including more than 200 pieces of ink and covering 93% of her body. The only places which were not tattooed were her palms, her soles and her face, which she refused to cover with ink. She also had some internal tattoos and numerous piercings. In 1999, she won the Guiness World Record while being covered of tattoos at 72%.

She used to say: "I first got tattooed when I was 48. I liked it so much I just kept going for it. I’ve also got piercings. I’ve pierced my ears, nose, nipples, bellybutton, clitoris and everywhere else. I’ve done some wild things in my life, but I’ve no regrets. I love my tattoos and I’m really glad I’ve had them done."

Isobel going under the needle.
Isobel going under the needle.

But Isobel Varley didn't start her tattoo collection in her young years. The former secretary discovered tattoo art at the London's Hammersmith Palais tattoo convention in 1986, where she got her first tattoo, a swallow on her shoulder. She instantly fell in love with tattoo and its world.

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"This came about as I was so impressed by the sheer beauty of the tattoos and I found that the people there were ordinary people from all walks of life and were not strange."

Some of her tattoos were erotic, some other pretty or meaningful. She also had many piercings.
Some of her tattoos were erotic, some other pretty or meaningful. She also had many piercings.

Born in 1937 in the Yorkshire and living in Stevenage, in the Hertfordshire, with her husband Malcolm, the British legend of tattooing was a regular of tattoo conventions. The inspirational free spirit was always very friendly with tattooed people and tattoo artists, chatting with everyone and always taking time for a good laugh. This laugh she was especially famous for...

She is the grandmother we all dream to have... Here with her husband Malcolm. Credit: Muir Vidler Photography.
She is the grandmother we all dream to have... Here with her husband Malcolm. Credit: Muir Vidler Photography.

Isobel Varley had a very happy and interesting life, travelling the world to attend tattoo conventions and being the muse of many artists. She was also a model for many tattooed people and a living evidence that tattoos look good at any age. In May 11th 2015, she finally lost her battle against Alzheimer's disease. Her son Stephen and her husband Malcolm have launched a fundraising in her memory to help fight this terrible disease that is Alzheimer. You can too make a donation. For more information, please follow this link.

Isobel Varley 1937-2015 Rest in peace.
Isobel Varley 1937-2015 Rest in peace.

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

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