Honey, she’s shrunk the Klimt! Not to mention the mini Monet, teeny Turner and dinky Dali – all recreated in microscopic detail by a Yorkshire mother
- Nell McKay from Cropton, North Yorkshire creates miniature masterpieces
- Using a x20 magnification microscope the mother of two paints her tiny art
- Her work has sold for between £189 and £220 and is popular for upmarket doll houses
Like most artists, Nell McKay has a steady hand, an eye for detail and plenty of patience.
But to create the miniature masterpieces photographed here, she also needs a x20 magnification microscope, paint brushes the diameter of a pin . . . and lots of eye drops.
The mother-of-two from the village of Cropton, North Yorkshire, began painting tiny replicas of famous paintings last year. Some are the size of a large postage stamp, others no bigger than a mobile phone.
Nell McKay from Cropton, North Yorkshire, holds up one of her finished miniature masterpieces
Nell looks through her x20 microscope to help her complete another of her tiny artworks
Nell adds tiny details using her microscope to another classic
’Ear’s a favourite: The powerful colours of Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers with even a hint of that famous thick brushwork
So far Nell, 55, has produced versions of works by artists as varied as Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Salvador Dali.
They sell for between £189 and £220 — and have proved popular with upmarket doll’s house enthusiasts looking for something classy to hang on the walls and people who simply want a miniature masterpiece.
Mrs McKay works at her dining room table through a binocular microscope with two eye-pieces. ‘You have to try not to blink so your eyes can get quite dry — I work up to 17 hours a day from 9am to 2am when I’m painting, so I get through a lot of eye drops,’ she said.
Her ginger cat Beetrix sits on the table whenever she’s working. ‘She is my shadow — and I’m always having to pick her fur off the paintings,’ said Mrs McKay, whose husband Philip, 62, is a furniture maker.
The golden girl: Nell McKay’s version of Gustav Klimt’s erotic and controversial Art Nouveau masterpiece Judith II painted by the Austrian artist in 1909. We have used a pound coin to show the scale
One for the Monet: Nell captures the Water Lilies painted in French Impressionist Claude’s garden
It’s a real gem: That enigmatic gaze of Johannes Vermeer’s The Girl With The Pearl Earring painted by the Dutch master in 1665. We’ve used a thimble to compare the sizes
She trained and worked as an architectural draughtsman when younger. In later life she studied fine art at York University and went on to complete a Master’s at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London.
‘I hit on the idea after making a doll’s house for my daughter Sarah so she could pass it on as an heirloom when she has children,’ she says. A virtual exhibition featuring her miniatures can be seen from now until Friday at dollshouseshowcase.com/category/feature
Time slips by: Salvador Dali’s 1931 Surrealist classic The Persistence Of Memory — certainly not one to forget
Tinier Turner: The Fighting Temeraire gunship’s last voyage — towed to the breaker’s yard in 1838
It’s a Scream: The iconic image of Edvard Munch’s painting contrasts with Nell McKay’s painstaking calm concentration as she creates her works of art
Yet another of Nell’s pieces, this time a tiny Frida Kahlo self portrait in a velvet dress