Not many people get to see inside the workshop of one of the world’s remaining globe makers, Bellerby & Co, hidden in a cool studio up a mews in London’s Stoke Newington, but its Instagram account is the next best thing, offering a delightful peek into the weird and wonderful world of this unusual ‘atelier’.
Inside, it’s a hive of peaceful yet intense activity filled with natural light, desks surrounded by leafy tropical plants, pieces of painted maps hanging from beams and globes in all states of completion, everywhere! This is where the talented Bellarby & Co team work to make some of the finest globes in the world, each of them handcrafted to order – some selling for up to £59K!
It all began when Mr Peter Bellerby, upon searching for a globe for his father’s birthday present, couldn’t find one suitable so began his own DIY project to make one, which snowballed into an unexpected career as one of the last handmade globemakers in the world which started around 2011. Today, he has a team of 20 expert artisans who undergo six months training in the art of globe making.
The Guardian describes it as ‘
Each globe is made using maps cut into strips called, ‘gours’ which are painted in a wash colour, soaked in water, and then stretched and manipulated onto the spheres without ripping or overlapping, a process that requires total focus and patience to get it right.
They’re then passed on to the painting team who meticulously hand paint on every little detail, from entire coastlines and mountain ranges to little polar bears, with only a little bit of paint. In total, they take between three weeks and six months to make.
Their collection is jaw dropping with globes ranging in size from miniature desk globes made of solid granite to larger globes which take months to make, are hollow inside and rest on bases, the biggest being the Churchill at 127cm. They’re not cheap as you’d imagine – the smallest starting at £900! Eeeeek! Better get saving.