The Globemakers: The Curious Story of an Ancient Craft (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

It started as a quest to buy his father a high quality globe for his 80th birthday. Bellerby searched around the world to find one and failed. It took years after that to be financially ready and get the right help to actually make them himself. It's a process of stunning complexity, building spheres covered with updated cartography for a planet that’s not quite round and then making them beautiful. Today these hand-painted and individually built globes are sold through the company’s website. It's a remarkable story, and this attractive book is nicely organized with inserted information. We learn about geography (with border disputes), astronomy, and exploration, beginning with the first philosophers and mathematicians who understood the Earth was round and estimated its size. We're taught about the first globes and maps and why they were made, and we’re given truly amazing details about the planet Earth itself. It’s fascinating. I’m a bit short of the money needed to buy one of Bellerby’s treasures, but just knowing that they are still being created today is a thrill for a retired teacher. I’ve watched children become entranced by spinning globes for most of my life.

— Tim McCarthy


“Beautifully conceived and skillfully executed . . . encourages the reader to linger and explore." —The Wall Street Journal

“Peter Bellerby’s tale of learning how to fashion worlds—a journey through history, science, craft, and passion—spun me on my axis.” —Dava Sobel, New York Times bestselling author of Longitude

The beautifully illustrated story of our globe and the globes it has inspired, told from inside the workshop of one of the world’s last globemakers, with four-color photos throughout.

Many of us encounter a globe as children. We find a grown-up and ask, “Where are we?” They spin the globe and point to a minuscule dot amidst a massive expanse of sea and land. Thousands of questions follow. A profound convergence of art and science, a globe is the ultimate visualization of our place in our galaxy and universe. To be a globemaker requires a knowledge of geography, skilled engineering, drawing, and painting, and only a few people in history have ever really mastered the craft.

When Peter Bellerby set out to make a globe for his father's eightieth birthday, after failing to find a suitable one to purchase, he had no idea where the process would lead. He went on to establish Bellerby & Co, one of the only artisan globemakers in the world. The Globemakers brings us inside Bellerby’s gorgeous studio to learn how he and his team of cartographers and artists bring these stunning celestial, terrestrial, and planetary objects to life. Along the way he tells stories of his adventure and the luck along the way that shaped the company.

A full-color photographic portrait of a lost art, The Globemakers is an enlightening exploration of globes, or “earth apples,” as they were first known, and their ability to show us ourselves and our place in an infinite universe.

About the Author

Peter Bellerby is a world-renowned globemaker and founder of artisan globemakers Bellerby & Co, which won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2018 and 2021. Their studio has shipped globes to over sixty countries, and its work has been featured in books, on television, and in countless publications around the world. Peter lives in London with his partner Jade, who helps him run the company. @globemakers

Praise For…

"Beautifully conceived and skillfully executed . . . encourages the reader to linger and explore." —The Wall Street Journal

"Beautiful . . . Bellerby’s love of globes is contagious . . . Interspersed with Bellerby’s account of his progress are interesting factoids about the planet, the heavens, the need to update maps, the tilt of the earth, the role of the equator in both the earth and on globes, and many other tidbits . . . The Globemakers is ultimately about passion and how the true reward of work is found in the type of satisfaction Bellerby acknowledges at the end of his tale. Thanks to it, my globe will certainly accompany me on any future moves." —Washington Independent Review of Books

“Readers will be fascinated by Bellerby's reverential and sometimes existential musings, which are enriched by stunning photos of the globemaking process. It's a fascinating deep dive into an arcane art.” —Publishers Weekly

"As fascinating as it is informative, The Globemakers is beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color throughout." —Midwest Book Review

“Peter Bellerby's tale of learning how to fashion worlds-a journey through history, science, craft, and passion-spun me on my axis.” —Dava Sobel, New York Times bestselling author of LONGITUDE

“A fascinating story, beautifully told.” —Andrew Pettegree, author of THE LIBRARY: A FRAGILE HISTORY and THE BOOK AT WAR

“Craft really does make the world go round, and no book captures that better than Peter Bellerby's beautiful tribute to the techniques of globemakers. He has truly mastered these little-known processes, and written about them with comparable skill. Every craft is a universe unto itself; Bellerby has captured his, and somehow fit it all into one book. An inspiring achievement.” —Glenn Adamson, author of CRAFT: AN AMERICAN HISTORY

The Globemakers takes you both around the world and through time in a journey that is at once deeply personal and compelling, yet grounded in the history of the way humans have always tried to make sense of our bizarre and beautiful planet.” —David Perry, author of THE BRIGHT AGES

“Bellerby & Co. is one of the only remaining ateliers that still makes globes by hand using a meticulous step-by-step process that hasn't deviated much over the centuries ... the end result is worth the wait.” —Smithsonian Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639731565
ISBN-10: 1639731563
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English