Tattoo designs by convict's occupation

These pie charts indicate the distribution of tattoo designs by convict occupations. Note that most Digital Panopticon records do not provide the occupations of convicts, so these charts are based on a relatively small number of cases, primarily from the records of prison parole licences. (In some other record types, such as the Register of Habitual Criminals, occupational information was routinely provided, but we have been unable to extract all of it for analysis.)

The records contain thousands of unique occupational labels. This visualisation is restricted to the top 50 occupations in the entire Digital Panopticon dataset. For these occupations, we have attempted to include all variant spellings (such as lab, labr, and laborer for labourer). Also included are occupations which were listed as part of a lengthier occupational description: 'bricklayer's labourer', for example, is included in the 'labourer' category.

Tattoo designs in history have often been linked to the occupation of the person wearing them, such as an anchor on a sailor, which accounts for 23% of the designs in sailors' tattoos in this data. What is remarkable about these charts, however, is the wide range of tattoo designs, predominantly unrelated to the convict's occupation, for almost all occupations.