Some years ago, Peter Bellerby decided to give his father a globe for his eightieth birthday. He soon realised that the market for these objects did not meet his expectations, and so – without any idea of what he was letting himself in for – he decided to make one himself. Two years later he founded Bellerby and Co. Globemakers, the only company in the world which manually produces and paints globes using up-to-date maps.
Bellerby and Co.’s premises are in London’s Stoke Newington, and here each day a team of capable craftsmen produce what might be described as the world’s most beautiful globes.
The hand-made production of a globe, however, is much more complicated than one might suppose. Peter Bellerby spent two years refining the technique and acquiring enough information to make a globe in keeping with his ambitions.
Ability, patience and, above all, meticulous precision are required to make a Bellerby globe. Maps are first printed on paper, then cut into triangular segments called gores, and then painted in watercolour. The gores are placed onto the globe one at a time – this is the most delicate part of the whole process – and then a final varnishing is carried out.
Each globe is produced to order and infinite possibilities exist for personalisation. Production times vary from three weeks for a Mini Desk, just 22cm in diameter, to six months for a Churchill, Bellerby’s largest with a diameter of 127cm.
Since its foundation in 2008, Bellerby and Co. has been in the spotlight of the world’s media: its unique products and its growing fame have enabled it to acquire an ever-more prestigious clientele.
In a world dominated by digital startups and mass consumerism, Peter Bellerby has brought back to life a work from times gone by, and has done so in the only way possible for craft-based industries – with a lot of passion and very few compromises.
Stoke Newington, May 2017