Just discovered the Bellerby Globes

A massive Churchill globe is complete

How could I miss this one? I must be pre-occupied with all the daily things at work. Well, you probably know what I mean.

I bought Simon Garfield’s book titled “On the Map”, which had some pretty good reviews as well as a great write-up in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal article came out about 6 months ago, but I’ve been waiting to place my Amazon order until I could accumulate a list of titles to purchase. When the book arrived, the first chapter I read, naturally was one titled “How to Make a Very Big Globe”.

It was pretty amazing to discover the work by Peter Bellerby. It turns out he had an idea to make his own globe about the same time as I, in 2008. The big difference, of course, is that he actually did it, and turned his project into a very successful company. Here is his web site, and I’m sure you will agree that the work is very nice:


More google searches turned up articles, youtube videos, and even a 3-day-old article at wired.com.

I like these globes. Who wouldn’t? The reason I like them is not so much for the size or manufacturing process, but because they are hand-painted. This give the effect of age and unevenness without being old or worn out. They look original and hand-made, which they are. I suspect you could get the same effect with Adobe Photoshop, but I also suspect you wouldn’t be able to convey the transparency and color-stained effect in an authentic manner.

Since the globes are all hand painted, I would guess that the gores are fairly simple. Line vectors for the outlines, and text, along with a shoreline gradient. As I study the gores in the photos, I do see that there is a purposeful effort to avoid having text cross from one gore to the next unless the text is very close to the equator. This definitely solves a problem I’ve been thinking about, where the text must curve correctly at high latitudes when crossing across gores. Bellerby appears to have solved this problem by avoiding it altogether. I think this is probably a good idea.

So how much would it cost for his big 50-inch Churchill globe? Well, this particular globe will set you back US$86,427. Wow!! That’s more than a Mercedes.

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One Response to Just discovered the Bellerby Globes

  1. Cheers Mark, thanks for all the kind words!

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