Queen Elizabeth II’s latest portrait, to be gifted to her on her 90th birthday, has been done by Graham Short, who is known as “the world’s smallest engraver” for his miniature art masterpieces. He now has etched a portrait of the British royal on to a tiny speck of gold to celebrate her 90th birthday.
The etching is done inside the eye of a needle where the gold is inserted. It took Graham Short three months and around 30 attempts to carve the exquisite piece of the world’s smallest picture of Elizabeth. The carving at five microns is a twentieth of the thickness of a hair. A hair is supposedly measured at 100 microns. Graham used a speck of gold in the eye of a needle to carve the portrait of the Queen.
The 69-year-old’s desire to produce an engraving so small as to be illegible to the naked eye led to the making of his first masterpiece The Lord’s Prayer Engraved on the head of a 2mm gold pin, which can only be seen properly through a powerful microscope. Engraving such master pieces requires a lot of effort and dedication. For the masterpiece for the queen, Graham said that he had to take potassium, magnesium and beta-blockers during the night in an effort to lower his heart rate.
He also used the finest of needles and had to wear a stethoscope. He usually worked from 5.30 a.m. to avoid the vibrations of the passing traffic. Besides, to avoid distraction he also had to take regular course of Botox injections in his eyelids.
Birmingham-based Graham is an astonishing human being -- calm soft spoken man. He likes to swim at nightfall to pursue his hobby with a microscope. Each of his pieces is painstakingly engraved often in the dead of the night. He said that he has been able to get a lot of detailing in the crown and this is certainly one of his best pieces.
Elizabeth will turn 90 on April 21 and will be the first reigning British monarch to reach her 90th birthday. Her official birthday will be celebrated all over the country in June, which also coincides with the birthday of Prince Philips. The next day will be the Trooping the Color, where her grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte are expected to join. On June 12, there will be a huge street party and Patron’s Lunch at the Mall.