Looking at the Queen in the eye of a needle

A remarkable new portrait of the Queen will be unveiled in Kelso on Saturday (April 23) ... but to see it, you will need to look through a powerful microscope.

Created by Graham Short – known as “The World’s Smallest Engraver” – the portrait, celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday, is etched onto a tiny speck of gold within the eye of a needle.

The Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery in Kelso is hosting the piece from its unveiling on Saturday until the end of May, when it will be presented to Her Majesty.

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It took Graham three months and around 30 attempts to engrave the exquisite piece – the world’s smallest portrait of the Queen. The carving, at five microns, is a 20th of the thickness of a hair.

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.

Engraving such masterpieces requires a lot of effort and dedication.

Graham has to take potassium, magnesium and beta-blockers, and swims 10km a day in an effort to lower his heart rate.

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Graham also endures regular botox injections around his eyes to reduce blinking and works through the night to avoid the vibrations of traffic.

Using the finest of needles, Graham starts work wearing a stethoscope, to ensure he engraves between heartbeats.

The unveiling will take place in the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery at 22 Bridge Street, at noon on Saturday, where the artist will be in attendance. It can be seen there until the end of May.

Admission is free.

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