Members of the social elite gathered in drawing rooms to disrobe partially and show off their expensive and painfully acquired body art. Skilled artists were hard to find. Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie had a dainty snake etched strategically on her wrist; she could cover it up with a diamond bracelet. Rumour has it that her son followed suit with an anchor on his forearm. London salons charged a fortune, but for some money was no object – one Scottish baron had Constable’s Mrs Pelham tattooed on his chest at a cost of a staggering 24 guineas.