Man of the World

Jamie McGregor Smith

Peter Bellerby's bespoke globes revive a delicately handcrafted art.

Before Peter Bellerby was making globes from his London studio for clients that include Martin Scorsese (who commissioned pieces for his Hugo extravaganza) and British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare (who asked Bellerby to create an orb as part of his ballerina statue for the Royal Opera House), he was on a quest to find the perfect one for his father’s 80th birthday. Coming up empty-handed, Bellerby, whose last venture was managing an upscale bowling alley, took on the task of designing one himself, and soon after, in 2008, Bellerby & Co. Globemakers was born.

“Bespoke globe-making had died off many years ago, and the creators—perhaps with knowledge of how difficult the process is—took their secrets to the grave,” he says. Learning to wet a gore—the triangular strips that align latitudes—and glue it to a sphere without it ripping, for instance, alone took 18 months to perfect. (It now takes specially trained artisans up to a year to hone.) The techniques themselves require expert knowledge, and for that Bellerby recruited only the best. For the 80 Series, the firm’s limited-edition line of globes, he uses bases made by heritage technicians from Aston Martin. “We want to remind people how limited-edition craft still exists,” Bellerby says. “In a throwaway society, handmade pieces still resonate. I’d like to think that in a hundred years, people will look back at our globes and see them as an accurate reflection of the world during the time they were made.” Globes start at $1,705;