A talented micro-artist has created what is believed to be the world’s smallest ever engraving – in a hollowed out section of a DOG’S HAIR.
The portrait of the artist JMW Turner was carved on a miniscule 22ct gold disc by microengraver Graham Short over a period of three weeks.
Graham, 73, spent a total of 75 hours painstakingly using ultra fine needles to create the stunning replica on the 0.1mm (0.0039ins) thick sheepdog hair.
He took medication to lower his heart rate to around 25 beats per minute and worked between beats while using a microscope with a magnification of x400.
The tiny artwork, which is worth around £40,000, was completed to coincide with the new £20 notes due to be issued next year which feature Turner.
Graham says its the smallest engraving he has ever created and can find no record of anyone going any smaller than this piece, which is invisible to the naked eye.
Graham, of Bournville, Birmingham, said: “Every morning I take a walk to the local shop, for a newspaper.
“I always stop to say hello to a retired sheepdog that his owner ties to the railings outside the shop.
“A couple of months ago, while stroking the old dog, I noticed his hair was quite coarse and rigid.
“It gave me an idea, so I pulled a few hairs out of his back.
“I’ve hollowed out part of the dog’s hair, which is much thicker than a human hair, and inserted a microscopic 22ct gold disc into it.
“I worked for five hours a night between midnight and 5am, five days a week for three weeks.
“I would never attempt anything like this again. It was too difficult, but I’m guessing it’s the smallest engraving in the world. I can’t see anyone else doing it.
“I’ve engraved along the sharp edges of razor blades but this goes to another level.
“I haven’t seen any engravings smaller than this. I can’t see anyone going smaller than this either. The gallery price would be around £40,000.”
Graham was able to undertake his record breaking work after being given a microscope by fellow Brummie micro-artist Willard Wigan.
He added: “I said to Willard – ‘I can’t get down to your size’.
“He said ‘your microscope is no good’. He has given me one of his. It has a x400 magnification. Before I could only do x200 to x250.
“I wear a stethoscope when I am working and take tablets. Potassium, magnesium and beta blockers.
“I use very fine Victorian needles with gold eyes. I will keep the hair in a jeweller’s box until it’s ready.
“I get my heart rate down to 25 beats per minute. My health is quite good. The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate.
“When I am dead still I try to engrave between the beats.
“Every three months I have a course of botox to my eyelids. I do accept it is a bit extreme but it’s my work and I’m used to it.”
Graham previously etched a 5mm portrait of England hero Harry Kane on 11 £5 notes during the world cup last summer.
The year before, he sparked a Willy Wonka-style hunt for an etching of Jane Austin on four fivers to mark the 200th anniversary of her death which were later valued at £50,000.
And he has recently engraved a poem by poet laureate Simon Armitage on a pill for the Institute of Cancer Research.