Pharaoh´s Horses Tattoo Flash

pharaoh horses original painting

The Pharaoh´s Horses Tattoo Flash was a classic under the oldtimer of all Tattoos in the beginning of the 20th century. We will start our journey with this specific tattoo design. We will explore the world of classic tattoo flash showing you traditional designs from America and Europe as well as designs from the far east and how they ended up in Japan.

The painting

The original painting by J.F. Herring shows three head studies of a horse. What many people don’t know is that it shows different perspectives of the same grey Arabian stallion: Imaum. Queen Victoria originally owned the horse which often modelled for many of Herring´s paintings including ‘Pharaoh’s Horses’. This well known and loved image found its way into many homes across the country. The three charging steeds of Pharaoh’s Horses have endured since the 19th century. This long-lived painting shows no signs of wanting to leave the scene anytime soon.

Backpiece and tattoo supply

Images such as these came to tattooing from the larger religious art world. Probably a customer brought them into a tattoo shop, or a tattooist seeing them drew them up as tattoo designs. The first dated tattoo was a backpiece by Gus Wagner (1872-1941). While preparing the tattoo he reversed the image compared to the original painting and framed it with flowers and an eagle on the top. Tattooers mostly used the Pharaoh´s Horses Tattoo Flash as a back- or frontpiece. By the 1920´s it was not uncommon for them, and tattoo supply catalogues as well, to combine it with other classics such as the “Rock of ages”. Probably Percy Waters had the biggest impact by using the Pharaoh´s Horses Tattoo Flash on the cover of his “How-to-Tattoo” booklet.

Do you want to know more about the connection to the Bible and Exodus 15:19? We would love to chat with you at Good Old Times Tattoo Berlin.

If now you can’t wait to make this beautiful tattoo concept yours, use our contact form to request an appointment.

See you soon for more tattoo history & some good coffee.

Good Old Times Tattoo