A globe is a thing that is usually sphere-shaped, mostly a representation of the earth in the form of a hollow ball. There are two globes that are known to have been made since the mid-second century BC: the terrestrial and celestial.
The terrestrial shows a map of the world while the celestial shows the positions of the stars in the sky. The earliest surviving terrestrial globe was made in 1492 by Martin Behaim, a German mapmaker, navigator, and merchant.
During the Renaissance, globe making developed rapidly as a result of technological developments like the mechanical printing press as well as the increasing availability of Latin translations of Ptolemy’s treatise, Geographica.
Globe making had become a well-established craft in Europe by the end of the fifteenth century. Christopher Columbus and other voyagers went forth and explored new lands with the help of the globe. In the modern age, however, GPS has been invented, and the abundance of mass-produced globes and maps and the art of globe making in general has fallen by the wayside.
As of now, there are only two workshops in the world that still make handcrafted globes. One of them is Bellerby & Co. Globemakers, a studio based in Stoke Newington, London, founded by Peter Bellerby in 2008.
The shop was born when Bellerby struggled to find a quality globe for his father’s eightieth birthday present. He was faced with a choice between a cheaply made modern globe or a fragile, expensive antique model, so he decided to spend a few months and a few thousand pounds to make his own instead. The process eventually leads to the creation of his own globe-making studio.
Globe making is a difficult art to learn, with the act of applying the strips of the map to the sphere known as goring alone usually takes a year to master, so Bellerby led a small team of dedicated globe makers to construct high-quality, handmade, artisan globes that are as much works of art as they are as scientific instruments. Each piece is expertly crafted in-house using traditional and modern globe-making techniques.
Bellerby & Co. has gained international acclaim for its globes, and some have been used for BBC productions, in Hollywood films like Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo, and by artists in installations. These globes are timeless in appearance and built to last over a century to memorialize the ancient art of globe making and craftsmanship.