The Globemaker – Peter Bellerby and Co.

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Peter Bellerby is an artisan globemaker and the owner of Bellerby and Co. – a small studio of globemakers in North London. This magical place  has its roots in Peter’s personal quest to find a suitable globe for his father’s 80th birthday. Unsatisfied with everything he found in the market he decided to make his own. Many years later, and many many more challenges later, he finally mastered the seemingly simple process of  ‘making a ball and putting a map on it’. Those challenges are what has made Bellerby and Co. what it is today. Peter and his team have created hundreds of  some of the most sought after globes on the planet, each one meticulously handcrafted.

Casting the sphere of the globe using Plaster of Paris

Casting the sphere of the globe using Plaster of Paris

Producing a globe takes anything from a couple of days to a few weeks depending on its size and customisations which have been requested. Globes range in size from around 20cm in diameter to the gigantic Churchill globe measuring 127cm in diameter! The sphere that forms the skeleton is cast using Plaster of Paris.

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Gores – cut and ready to be glued

Once the sphere has been prepared, basic shading and colouring is done and is then ready to be papered. Triangular gores are printed on to paper exactly right. These are then cut, glued and placed very precisely on to the sphere avoiding tearing, bubbling or overlapping. The utmost care needs to be taken to line the gores up exactly to form a perfect representation of the earth’s geography.

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Hanging up to dry. Glue applied to gores.

Once dried, further detail is added with the finest of paintbrushes, using Sennelier watercolour pigments. The globe is then finished off with a resilient varnish which deepens the colour of the pigments and gives it a luxuriously smooth finish. Bellerby and Co. globes have a unique on which the sphere sits – allowing one to interact with it easily and spin it in any direction.

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Detail added with watercolour pigment

How wonderful must it be to commission a beautifully made globe highlighting special places that you’ve visited or places you call home, all painted by hand in exquisite detail? Head over to Bellerby & Co. to find out more about their wonderful creations.

All images are stills taken from film by Cabnine.